Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

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10 Jun
2018

Park claims LPGA ShopRite Classic

Written by Bob Oliver

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ ---

Playing in only her fifth LPGA event, Long Island native Annie Park broke into the LPGA win column with a sparkling effort at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. 

Just 23, Park displayed a smooth putting stroke amid the nerves that built throughout her final round. She harnessed her emotion and compiled a superb closing 63 to go with earlier rounds of 69 and 65 for a 16-under-par 197. That was one shot better than Sakura Yokomine and two shots ahead of Marina Alex.

The victory gave her a $262,500 pay day and invitation to all of the LPGA majors. 

"I was nervous, I'd be lying if I said otherwise," said the champion, who uses a lengthened putter. "My putting held together, and I kept making putts under pressure. They kept going in."

Park has played the tour for a couple years, with limited success.

"I've had my ups and downs, but never stopped believing in myself, my game," said the champion. 

Bucks County's two entries, Neshaminy grad Brittany Benvenuto and Pennsburg grad Jackie Rogowicz, failed to make the 36-hole cut.

Benvenuto played in her fifth event of her rookie season and fashioned a 1-under-par 70 to go along with a first round 76 for 146 total. The below par round was on her 30th birthday. 

"I played well today," said Benvenuto. "Yesterday, I didn't get any luck. Today, I played my game. I'm hitting the ball well."

Rogowicz, who earned a spot in the field through pfre-qualifying and qualifying events, is an incoming Penn State University senior. She posted a 72 to go along with a nervous 83 opening round for a 13-over-par 155. 

CHIP SHOTS: Benvenuto is in the final field for this week’s  Maijer Classic in Grand Rapids. She is playing on a medical exemption after missing all of last season with back and neck issues. She expects to play in 11-12 events this season and hopes to earn enough official money to retain LPGA status.

09 Jun
2018

Nordqvist loves Bay Course at Seaview

Written by Bob Oliver

Galloway Township, NJ ---

There is little doubt - make that zero doubt, that Anna Nordqvist doesn't love the Bay Course at the Seaview Golf and Tennis Resort.

She's been a dominant player at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer, winning three years ago and successfully defending her championship. Last year she played well, but finished second. 

Friday's first round of the 54-hole event was nothing new as Nordqvist sits atop the leaderboard alongside Laura Diaz and Celine Hobin after the three carded 5-under-par 66s over the windswept Bay Course. 

"I feel so comfortable here, I really like Seaview," said Nordqvist. "The wind can drive you nuts, but if you are patient I find it a nice place to play."

Bucks County natives had difficult starts to the event. Neshaminy graduate Brittany Benvenuto had no luck in a 5-over-par 76 effort, while Pennsbury grad and incoming Penn State senior Jackie Rogowicz suffered through an 83. Rogowicz is the only amateur in the field. 

"This is going to sound a little strange, but overall I played very well, maybe the best I've played this year," said Benvenuto, who turns 30 tomorrow. "The opening four holes were near disasters."

Benvenuto missed 3-4 foot putts on the first two holes, the first sent off line by a spike mark and the second when it careemed funnilly by the poana grass. A bad bounce on the green on her third hole forced another bogey and a slightly offline approach led to another. Four holes, four bogeys.

"I loved how I was hitting the ball but not the results," said Benvenuto. "I feel good. This is pro golf, and things happen. You have to deal with the highs and lows, the good and the bad."

Rogowicz only finished ahead of two players, but was very pleased with her effort. 

"Just being here is pretty cool," said Rogowicz. "What a learning experience. It was great playing with Brittany Lang. I mean, she's a major champion. She was wonderful to watch."

Rogowicz admitted to being somewhat nervous, but that the nerves were contained. "I just didn't want to do anything wrong, it's a great experience. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

CHIP SHOTS: Rogowicz hit a wayward drive on the second hole which ultimately was deemed out of bounds --- after a 26 minute wait for a rules official...Benvenuto has no special plans for her 30th - save a longshot hope of making the 36 hole cut.