Tie at Harder Hall Invite
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodaySEBRING - Erica Popson and Mika Liu are tied for first place after Friday's second round of the 58th Harder Hall Women's Invitational.
Published: January 5, 2013
Published: January 5, 2013
Popson had steady rounds of 71-70-141, while Liu carded rounds of 66-75-141 over the tight and demanding 6,151-yard, par 72 Harder Hall Country Club course.
A senior on the University of Tennessee women's golf team, Popson had nines of 35-35, which included six birdies in Friday's cool and blustery conditions.
"I got kind of lucky on No. 17, which was my front nine," Popson said. "I hit my second shot in the water, but I holed out from 60 yards for a birdie. "I was ecstatic about that and went out and made some birdies on the front side."
Popson, who is from Davenport and attended Ridge Community High School, reeled off four consecutive birdies before making a triple-bogey 8 after a wayward tee shot on the par 5 6th hole.
"I got off to a hot start and was thinking about making another birdie because it's a par 5," Popson said. "I thought I hit a good tee shot but it was in the trees and I stayed in the trees for a while before I tapped in for the 8. "I've lost four shots there the first two days of the tournament and it's not my favorite hole."
But the Volunteer linkster stayed focused and was able to par in to tie for the lead. With the weather staying overcast and windy, Popson is looking to stay consistent.
"I played pretty solid the first two days," she said. "I just need to believe in myself because the past few months I've had a really hard time with self confidence.
"I can see my game starting to spark back and I just need to believe in myself and see what happens the last two days."
Liu, a 13-year-old phenom from California, is in the eighth grade at St. Stephens Episcopal Academy in Bradenton.
Liu, who had seven birdies in her sizzling opening round 66, had no birdies in Friday's round of 75. Liu was selected to the 2012 Rolex All-American Second Team and was the youngest member of the prestigious squad.
Hannah Pietila and Ashlan Ramsey are tied for third place at 143, JiaXin Yang, from China, is fourth after rounds of 73-71-144, and Kelsey MacDonald, from Scotland, is at 73-72-145.
Rinko Mitsunaga had rounds of 74-72-146, and is tied with Amy Ruengmateekhun, while Amira Alexander is tied at 147 with Samantha Gotcher and Cindy Yueer Fing.
Nicolle Agnello, Eilidh Briggs, Amanda Steinhagen and 2011 Harder Hall champion Ashleigh Albrecht are all at 148 and still very much in contention with 36 holes still to play.
Third round tee times begin at 8 a.m. today, but the leaders won't tee off until after 11 a.m. Sunday's final round will follow the same format.
There is no charge to attend the tournament and spectators are encouraged to come out and watch some excellent play from the 131 amateur competitors vying for the prestigious Harder Hall Invitational title.
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