Putting woes hurt Pauline | Sports

Pauline del Rosario groped for her putting touch all day, finding it only on the last hole as she wobbled with a four-over 76 and bowed out of the Oscar Williams Classic still paced by amateur Grace Kim of Australia in Anna, Texas Wednesday.

Brimming with confidence coming off a 70 start Tuesday, Del Rosario instead found the going tough at the Hurricane Creek course early, dropping strokes on Nos. 3 and 6 while flubbing a couple of birdie chances.

Unable to get her rhythm, she hit an errant approach shot on the par-4 10th, the ball hitting a branch and dropping into the water hazard.

She reluctantly signed up for a 7 then went on to miss a couple more makeable birdie-putts before finally drilling in a 15-footer on the 18th for a pair of 38s.

“Just bad breaks,” rued the recent Arkansas Open winner, who tumbled from a share of sixth to joint 27th at 146, now 10 strokes behind a tough Kim, who held sway with a 136 after a 69.

“My putts just wouldn’t drop so I had a hard time getting those birdies,” she added.

In contrast, Kim snapped a roller-coaster backside start of 35 that featured three birdies against two bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 second hole then negated her bogey on the third with a birdie on No. 6 to save a 34-35 for a three-shot lead over England’s Olivia Mehaffey and American Gabriella Then, who assembled identical 139s after a 69 and 70, respectively.

Counting her joint third effort in her WAPT (Women’s All Pro Tour) debut in the Mountain Ranch Championship last month, Del Rosario moved to No. 3 in the Race to Stage II of the LPGA Q-School despite competing in just two of first five of the 11-stage WAPT circuit.

She vowed to strike back in Thursday’s final round to gain points in an attempt to at least preserve her current WAPT ranking heading to the last five events of the tour serving as a qualifier for Symetra and LPGA Tour.

The top 5 after the season will earn automatic berths to Q-School Stage 2 slated in Venice, Florida in October.

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