AUGUSTA, Ga. (BRPROUD) – LSU senior Latanna Stone for the second straight year will play in the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club after firing a 1-under par round of 71 Thursday here at Champion’s Retreat.
Stone, who was T2 in last year’s event, firing three rounds of 72, posted her best round in her two times of playing the event and finished 36 holes at even par 144 (73-71). She stands T14 after two rounds against an elite field of 72 golfers from around the world.
The Florida native started her round on the 10th hole and posted a bogey when she couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker. But that was her only hiccup on the second nine as she posted birdies at the par 4 15th and the par 3 17th (second straight day to birdie the hole) to turn for the second straight day at 1-under 35.
On the first nine, Stone was able to get birdies at the par 4 second and par 4 seventh before bogeying her final two holes to post even par over those nine holes.
“I feel like I played really good out there today,” Stone told the media afterward. “Last two holes just kind of unfortunate a little bit. Made two bogeys coming in, but I think it might be good enough total for two days, so we’ll see.”
Stone was in the first group of the day but by the time she finished her score was already more than good enough to finish above the cutline to advance.
The day began in a cold morning fog that delayed Stone’s 8 a.m. ET start time by an hour. The fog settled over several holes and with no wind to blow it away it just hung in the area. Stone and her group were on the 10th tee when the delay was first announced as 10 minutes and then later 20 minutes to 8:30 before it was decided to regroup at 9 a.m. ET.
Off the delay and staying ready to play, Stone said: “Yeah, I was contemplating on going back (to the practice range) after they said 8:20 or 8:30. When they said 9 a.m. restart I was like, okay, just going to go back and like rewarm up.”
Although much colder at the start of the round, the sun was out all day quickly warming temperatures into the low 70s. And with warmer temperatures and virtually no wind, the cut line which this year included the ties instead of a hard 30, barely moved all day long.
The cut by mid-round had moved to 3-over par 147 but then moved back to +2 and late missed putts made the difference for a few golfers in making or missing the cut.
With leader Rose Zhang shooting 65 on Friday and standing at 13-under par 131 after 36 holes at Champions Retreat, Stone was asked about the mindset of a player having such a big lead.
“I think that I’m just going to go out there and have fun and just play golf on Saturday. So just enjoy the course. Yeah, I mean, anything can happen. It’s Augusta National, so…,” Stone said.
Stone had to go through qualifying again this year and be in that Top 30 to have another final round tee time in the ANWA.
“It’s kind of like just getting there, right?” said Stone. “You got to get there to get to the weekend. I think that playing steady golf works, so, I mean, just making it to the weekend.”
Stone posted steady numbers with eight total birdies in 36 holes, 21 pars, 6 bogeys, and only one of the so-called big numbers, a double bogey. In Wednesday’s first round, Stone hit 13-of-14 fairways and 11 greens in regulation.
One thing Stone is happy about is that her entire LSU team will be on hand to watch her play in the final round.
“I’m so looking forward to seeing all my teammates,” she said with a big smile. “Really excited. I just can’t wait for them to watch and enjoy Augusta National.”
Overall, Zhang’s lead is five shots over Andrea Lignell of Ole Miss who is at -8, 136, with Georgia’s Jenny Bae in third at 6-under 138.
A total of 13 golfers broke par for the 36 holes and a total of 31 golfers qualified at +2 146 or better.
Both Ingrid Lindblad and Carla Tejedo were unable to make the top 30 with Lindblad posting a 2-over 74 Thursday to finish at 8-over par 152 and a tie for 59th. Tejedo improved on the second day with 74 as well to finish at 9-over par 153 and T63.
All 72 players are invited to Augusta National Golf Club on Friday to play a round over the historic layout before the final round on Saturday. It was announced in the media room late Thursday afternoon that the tournament committee will not announce tee times until Friday afternoon because of a weather forecast that does not look ideal.
Presently, there is a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms on Saturday. A postponement is not a possibility with the Drive, Chip, and Putt scheduled for Sunday and activities for The Masters getting underway on Monday.
The television coverage on Friday will be on an edition of “Live From The Augusta Women’s National” on the Golf Channel beginning at Noon CT. Live coverage Saturday of the final round is set for 11 a.m. CT on NBC and Peacock.
(Per LSU Press Release)