Caroline Hedwall is playing at Highland Meadows for the first time and may not be a household name. That isn’t the case in her home country.
The 25-year-old Stockholm native has already played on two European Solheim Cup teams, and last fall she became the first player in the history of that event to post a 5-0-0 record. That makes her 7-1-1 overall in her two appearances.
Next week Hedwall will be one of four players representing Sweden in the eight-country International Crown tournament at Caves Valley Golf Club in Maryland.
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She has prepped for that competition by quietly putting herself into contention at the Marathon Classic.
Hedwall, an NCAA champion while at Oklahoma State University, carded rounds of 69 and68 for a 5-under-par total that puts her within six shots of leader Laura Diaz, who followed her opening-round 62 with a 69.
“I’ve played well for two days and finally made a couple putts on the back nine,” Hedwall said. “I’m happy with 5 under going into the weekend. Laura didn’t take off too much so I’m in a decent position.”
ACED IT: Haru Nomura aced the par-3 14th hole and won a 2014 Chevrolet Impala for making the hole-in-one. The 14th hole is the designated giveaway hole for the Marathon Classic — up to 19 golfers from Wednesday to Sunday have the chance to win a new car for hitting a hole-in-one, a giveaway sponsored by the Northwest Ohio Chevrolet Dealers.
Nomura shot a 70 and finished the tournament’s first two rounds with a 3-under-par 139.
Nomura’s hole-in-one is the second in as many days at Highland Meadows. Cristie Kerr hit a hole-in-one Thursday on the sixth hole, which is not part of the promotional giveaway.
CREAMER WINS RACE: Paula Creamer drew a loud applause from the enthusiastic gallery at No. 14. But the crowd reaction wasn’t prompted by a wicked eagle shot or birdie putt.
The large and lively gathering at the 14th hole, which is located in the southeast corner of Highland Meadows, cheered Creamer on after she sprinted up the fairway past Lexi Thompson and on to the green to win a foot race.
Creamer, who raised up her arms in victory by the time she reached the green, began running shortly after the gallery began calling for the caddies to have a foot race. After the caddies for Creamer, Thompson, and Angela Stanford didn’t react to the crowd’s request, Creamer made her move.
“We were talking about it early on. The caddies were talking about running or not, and they told us that we should run,” Creamer recalled. “I said, ‘No, we’re not running.’ Then Colin [Creamer’s caddy] said, ‘Go.’
“I had to get a headstart. She’s a lot younger than I am so I had to get it going. Then she did.”
Thompson admits she was caught off guard by Creamer’s late dash.
“She was behind me and she took off, but it was fun,” she said. “We talked about it a little before, but I didn't know for sure if we were going to do it. Then she took off. It's a pretty cool hole. You have a lot of fans out there. It's nice to see.”
Both golfers went into the clubhouse at 1-over 143, which is right at the cut line.
Creamer, who stood at 2-over with a hole to play, drained a 16-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that ultimately led to her surviving the cut.
“I just grinded my way through the last couple of holes,” Creamer said. “Like I said, I played a lot better than shooting even par today. Hopefully I can get some more putts to go in. I had a couple of errant drives here and there, but that was a good putt to finish on, no matter what happens.”
AMATEUR REBOUNDS: Stanford standout Mariah Stackhouse walked off the ninth hole with a smile on her face after completing the second round of the Marathon Classic.
The amateur, who received an exemption to play in the LPGA event, shot a round of 73 on Friday. She stood at 2-over 144, which ended up being one stroke off the cutting line to play the final two rounds and extend her time at Highland Meadows through the weekend.
“The experience was a lot of fun,” said Stackhouse, who was the lone African-American golfer playing in the LPGA event. “This is a great golf course.”
A slow start on Friday — bogeying three of the first four holes — derailed her chance to make the cut. She started the day on the back nine and bogeyed Nos. 10, 11, and 13.
“The only unfortunate part of the tournament for me was my start today,” she said.
With her father, Ken, serving as caddy, Stackhouse — who completed her sophomore year at the Pac-12 university in the spring — had a solid finish. She recorded birdies on holes 18 and 9. She suffered only one other bogey at No. 1.
“I would love an opportunity to get back here next year,” she said.
Her father would also welcome a return to playing in the Marathon Classic.
“I hope they do invite us back, we’ll certainly be here,” he said.
MARTIN IN HUNT: The 2014 British Open champion Mo Martin is lurking into the final two rounds. She has shot round rounds of 67 and 71 and stands at 4-under 138. She bogeyed Nos. 12 and 4 and birdied Nos. 14 and 3.
“It was solid,” Martin said. “I missed a few putts out there.”
Her approach for the final two rounds is simple.
“I plan on keeping the gas on and making some putts,” she said.
WIE MISSES CUT: Michelle Wie struggled mightily on Friday and will not be among the golfers playing today and Sunday.
She finished with a two-day score of 8-over 150 after a second-round score of 76. The 2014 U.S. Open champion signed a dozen or so autographs after finishing her round and didn’t speak to the media. She signed photos and autographed books held mostly by youngsters while making her way to the parking lot and into an SUV that left the site.
It was the second straight week she failed to make the cut after not making the cut at the Women’s British Open a week earlier.
Blade sports writers Rachel Lenzi and Donald Emmons and sports columnist Dave Hackenberg contributed to this notebook.