BRASELTON, Ga. – PGA Club Professionals Ashley Grier of Hagerstown, Maryland, and Karen Paolozzi of Roswell, Georgia, each posted a 2-under-par 70 Tuesday to share second place after the second round of the 27th LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship at Chateau Elan.
Grier and Paolozzi, each making their championship debut, are at 1-under-par 143 in the 54-hole event. They are two strokes behind three-time champion Jean Bartholomew of Garden City, New York, who struggled to a 74 after an opening-round 67. The top eight finishers following Wednesday’s final round earn a berth in the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Laurie Rinker of Stuart, Florida, and Kristen Samp of Lawrence, Kansas, shared fourth at 145. Michelle Murphy, a PGA Assistant Professional at Turning Stone in Verona, New York, was alone at 146. Alison Curdt of Woodland Hills, California, the PGA Director of Instruction at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, shared seventh at 147 with Amanda Moore of Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Grier, a 30-year-old PGA assistant professional at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland, got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-5 18th to cap a four-birdie, two-bogey performance.
“It was good to play a bit better today and I have been playing well the last few weeks,” said Grier, a 2006 graduate of the University of Central Florida. “I came in with the goal to win and hope that I can keep it going tomorrow. It was good to get that birdie at 18 after a so-so bunker shot. I ended up having to make a 15-footer.”
Paolozzi, 32, an assistant professional at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta, elevated her play after making history earlier this summer. In June, she tied for 49th in the PGA Professional National Championship, the highest overall Championship finish by a PGA woman professional. In July, Paolozzi captured the Georgia Women’s State Open.
On Tuesday, Paolozzi began play on the 10th hole with a birdie, and then mixed in a bogey and two additional birdies. She missed a four-foot birdie putt at the eighth hole (her 17th of the day), and after hitting her approach to 25 feet at the par-5 ninth, three-putted for par.
“My putter had been on fire for the past few events, but it cooled off the past two days,” said Paolozzi. “I have been hitting my irons really well, and I hope that I can get the putter going tomorrow.”
The KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be conducted June 8-14, 2015 at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.