Chang Maintains Futures Lead


Futures TourSTRATTON MOUNTAIN, Vt. -- Earmuffs in July? Believe it or not, a few warm bloods bundled up as the nippy summer New England winds whipped the course in today's second round of the $70,000 Stratton Mountain Futures Classic.
But for Lisa Chang of Los Angeles, who maintained her first-round lead heading into Saturday's final round, it was just another day of smooth sailing under the sunny skies of Vermont. Chang carded a 2-under-par score of 70 for a two-shot lead of 137 (-7) on a day that included 27 putts. Rookie Julie Tvede of Copenhagen, Denmark was the player who got hot with a 5-under-par score of 67 to slide into second place behind Chang at 5-under 139 at Stratton Mountain Country Club.
'This is not cold to me,' said Tvede (pronounced tuh-ville), playing in her first Futures Tour tournament after graduating from the University of Tulsa in May. 'It's quite nice to start out this way. It makes me feel good that I can compete on this level.'
Tvede, 24, won her first two tournaments as a professional in June at the Colorado Women's Open and the New Mexico Women's Open, but after missing the entry deadline for Futures Golf Tour events, she finally got into this week's tournament. It was just in time for the former Danish National Team member to heat up her game with six birdies, a single bogey and 26 putts in the second round to move within two shots of Chang, the frontrunner.
For most of today's second round, Chang and Michelle Simpson of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., were deadlocked in a tie at 6 under par on the rolling par-72, 6,212-yard course. Rookie Katie Connelly of Beloit, Wis., eagled the sixth hole to climb into the three-way tie. But Connelly bogeyed the next two holes and finished with a 2-under-par 70. Simpson lost ground on her last three holes with a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on the 18th -- the result of a 'duck snap-hook' left into the woods with the driver that resulted in a lost ball.
'All day, I was feeling really good,' said Simpson, who carded a second-round 70 today and stands at 4-under 140. 'I was trying to build my lead and I played well, but I basically had one poor swing today that cost me.'
Rookie Meaghan Francella of Port Chester, N.Y., carded a 69 today for her first bogey-free round in her second Futures Tour tournament to move into a share of third with Connelly at 140.
Simpson, rookie Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea and tour veteran Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash., who teaches just down the hill at Stratton Mountain Golf School, all are tied at 3-under 141.
This year's 54-hole, full-field 144-player tournament in Vermont marks the first year back in the Green Mountain State after a one-year hiatus. The Tour previously played a tournament in Killington, Vt., which ended in 2002. The LPGA Tour played the McCall's LPGA Classic here in Stratton Mountain from 1990-1995. Tournament record on the Stratton Mountain course is 13-under-par 275 for 72 holes and 12-under 204 for the 54-hole, rain-shortened tournament won by Dottie Pepper in 1995.
Pepper set a high benchmark for Futures Tour players to reach in this week's event, but it's not impossible -- especially not for those who get a hot round going in the cool mountain air of Vermont.
'I really want to win,' said Chang, still looking for her first Futures Tour title in her second full season. 'I shot my worst round [81] last week at the U.S. Women's Open and I shot my best round [67] yesterday. I'll just keep grinding.'
Seventy-four players made the 36-hole cut at 149 (+6).
Saturdays final round will begin at 8 a.m. from the first tee only, with the leaders going off at noon.
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