Jandel makes most of opportunity with opening 69


PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Michelle Wie opened the door for Emma Jandel’s successful start Thursday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

When Wie announced last week that she was pulling out of the championship because of a finger injury, Jandel got her spot.

“I was the last one in the field,” Jandel said. “Found out Monday morning.”

Jandel didn’t waste her chance. She shot to the top of the leaderboard with a torrid morning run. She birdied three consecutive holes to take the solo lead at Monroe Golf Club before fading with back-to-back bogeys to close her round with a 3-under-par 69.

Jandel, an LPGA rookie, has missed the cut in seven of nine starts this year, but as an underdog she’s emboldened after watching Mo Martin win the Ricoh Women’s British Open last month. With the LPGA stars dominating this season, Martin captured the game’s fancy as this season’s rare Cinderella story. Martin made her first LPGA title a major after toiling for six years on the Symetra Tour.

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Jandel, 26, an Ohio State graduate, spent four years playing the Symetra Tour before gaining her LPGA card.

“I played with Mo on the Symetra Tour,” Jandel said. “I’ve seen her progress, what she’s done out here, and I think it’s awesome. It gives a lot of girls the idea that if she can do it, we can do it.”

Growing up, Jandel learned how to compete as an underdog. She played against her brother and his friends in Dayton, Ohio. Her brother, Sam, is three years younger than she is, but he now stands 6 feet 10. He’s also a pro, playing mini tours.

“We’ve kind of been going at it forever,” Jandel said. “There were times my dad had to send one of us in."

That spirited competition helped Jandel make the boys' team at her high school and win back-to-back Ohio Amateurs.