Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Casey Grice fired a first-round, 6-
under 66 on Wednesday and she holds an early 1-shot lead in the final stage of
the LPGA Tour Qualifying School.
Grice has played in just one LPGA Tournament in her career and that was at the
2013 North Texas LPGA Shootout, where she missed the cut. Grice spent last
season on the Symetra Tour and recorded three top-10 finishes without a win.
The field was split between two courses at LPGA International. Half of the
field played on the Arthur Hills Course, while the other half was on the Rees
Ryann O’Toole, Ju Young Park and Maria Hernandez are all right behind Grice
following matching 5-under 67s. O’Toole was on the Rees Jones Course on
Wednesday, while Park and Hernandez played the Arthur Hills Course.
Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, is tied for fifth at 4-under 68
along with Elizabeth Nagel. Both Woods and Nagel played on the Rees Jones
Grice, starting on the front nine on the Rees Jones Course, kicked off her
first round with a birdie at the first, quickly getting her into red numbers.
Grice coasted through the next seven holes with seven straight pars before
finishing the front nine the same way she started it, with a birdie on nine.
Making the turn at minus-2, Grice continued to play well on the back nine.
Following a par on 10, Grice drained back-to-back gains on 11 and 12. After a
trio of pars from 13, Grice did it again with another pair of birdies on 16
and 17, getting her to 6-under.
Grice finished off her bogey-free round with a par at the last to conclude a
strong first day.
O’Toole started on the back nine in round one and was quickly under par with a
birdie on 10. She rattled off five straight pars before pouring in her second
gain on 16.
O’Toole made the turn with six straight pars from 17. She finished up strong
and vaulted herself up the leaderboard. O’Toole made three birdies on the
final five holes at five, eight and nine to get within one of the leader
Park also began with a birdie at the first and later added another one at the
fifth. Park dropped her first shot with a bogey on No. 6, but she responded
two holes later with her third gain of the day on eight.
Following a trio of pars from nine, Park made back-to-back birdies on 12 and
13 before exchanging a bogey on the 15th with a gain on the 16th. Park
finished up her round with her seventh birdie on 18 to grab a share of second
Hernandez got started with a birdie on the first, but she later gave that shot
back with a bogey on seven. She then ripped off three straight birdies from
eight to get to minus-3.
After five straight pars from 11, Hernandez made another pair of birdies on 16
and 17, putting her at 5-under. Hernandez closed things out with a par at the
last to end there.
Woods made five birdies in her round on five, seven, 12, 13 and 18 to go along
with a bogey at the first. Nagel had four birdies in a five-hole stretch from
eight and she added another gain on 18. She also made one bogey on 14.
NOTES: The top-20 finishers this week will earn category 12 status on the LPGA
Tour priority list, while those finishing between 21 and 45 get category 17
status … Those who do not earn category 12 or 17 status will still be
eligible to compete for a spot on the Symetra Tour priority list.