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Marathon Notebook: Challenging first hole yields 2 eagles

07/20/2014, 12:00am EDT

Longtime volunteer helps caddie in need; Recari hopes to make charge

Challenging first hole yields 2 eagles

Lydia Ko waves to the gallery at No. 9. The 17-year-old rookie, who shot a 70 on Saturday, enters the final round down two strokes. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

Dori Carter and Christina Kim eagled the par-4 No. 1 hole during the third round on Saturday at Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I.

The hole at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania is considered by many LPGA players as one of the tougher holes of the course, given its upward slope toward the green.

Carter said she used a 5-iron on the first tee, hitting the ball 161 yards into the wind.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for photos from the third round

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from Day 3

“I was just hoping to get it over the ridge, but my caddie and I decided, you’d rather be long on that hole than short,” said Carter, who enters today in a 12-way tie for 43rd (210). “That took an extra club, and I hit it straight. It looked good the whole way, I’ll admit it. It was awesome.”

It’s the first time in tournament history that there were two eagles on No. 1 on the same day, and LPGA statistics annually rank the No. 1 hole as the toughest on the course.

GOOD DEEDS: Charlie Koopman, a 15-year volunteer with the Marathon Classic, helped out a caddie in need on the second day of the tournament.

Koopman has served as a walking scorer through this year’s tournament and crossed paths with Mike Troublefield, a caddie who was in need of a pair of shoes to complete a round.

Troublefield, Koopman explained, had a deformity of his right foot that required he wear supportive footwear all the time. While Troublefield was on the course caddying Friday for Kim Williams, the heel of his high-top sneaker had begun to wear off the leather uppers, and he could not find anyone who wore size 13 sneakers.

“He came up to me and asked, ‘What size shoe do you wear?’ ” Koopman said. “He said, that’s the same size I wear! He showed me his right shoe and he asked me if we could trade shoes so he could finish the rest of the round.”

Koopman agreed and swapped his size 13 Brooks running shoes with Troublefield at the 14th hole, and wore Troublefield’s silver shoes through the remainder of Williams’ round.

“They were comfortable!” Koopman said.

Koopman is an ear, nose, and throat physician at the University of Michigan who lives in Ann Arbor and said that in 15 years of volunteering at the Marathon Classic, he hasn’t had many unusual instances where he has had to assist someone on the course, save for a golfer who had a nose bleed.

Citing doctor-patient confidentiality, Koopman wryly explained that he couldn’t disclose which golfer he treated.

RECARI ON FRINGE: Reigning Marathon Classic champion Beatriz Recari enters the final round as one of 13 golfers tied for 23rd place and is still in the mix to make a run at winning the championship.

Recari stands at 5-under 208 and is six strokes off the lead shared by Lee-Anne Pace and Laura Diaz. Despite trailing by several strokes, she’s not waving a white flag heading into the final round.

“I hit the ball really well, but they just didn’t drop today and that was the theme of today,” Recari said after 1-under 70 round on Saturday. “I think that I will have good karma for tomorrow, and some putts will drop in tomorrow, and I will try and climb up the leaderboard.”

No. 1-ranked Stacy Lewis is among the logjam in 23rd place.

RYU IN HUNT: 2012 Marathon Classic champion So Yeon Ryu knows what it feels like to win at the Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Sitting one stroke behind the leaders, Ryu is in position to make a run at trying to win her second Marathon Classic title in three years.

“Absolutely,” Ryu said when asked if she’s in a good situation to come out the winner. “No matter if I’m playing great right now or not, I still feel comfortable, which means I had a great memory here.

“I just love being here. I can still remember the crowd was really nice to me when I won this tournament.”

She posted a score of 68 on Saturday and sits at 10-under 203, along with Jaye Marie Green.

CONSISTENT KIRK: Australian Katherine Kirk posted a score of 68 for the second straight day to help place her three strokes off the lead with a three-day total of 3-under 205.

Kirk, who had an opening round of 69, worked magic with her putter on Saturday after hitting only four of 14 fairways with her driver and was only 11 of 18 for greens in regulation.

Yet she was still able to put up a red number Saturday after recording four bogeys and seven birdies, including a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

“I don’t know how I shot 68 because I hit it everywhere,” Kirk said. “My driver was all over the map, but I putted really well, so that saved me.”

Kirk knows she can’t afford to struggle with her driver today.

“It’s a lot of good players on the leaderboard right now, so it’s going to take a low one to win this,” she said. “I know what I’ve got to do. It’s just a matter of staying patient and executing.”

NO AGE LIMIT: The eventual winner of this year’s Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I will probably fall in the 21-41 age range.

The youngest winner of the LPGA event held in northwest Ohio was Brandie Burton in 1993 when she was 21 years, 5 months, and 26 days old. When Paula Creamer won the top prize in 2008, she was 21 years, 11 months, and 8 days old.

Meg Mallon was 41 years, 3 months, and 25 days old when she claimed victory in 2004 to become the oldest Marathon Classic champion. Patty Sheehan won the 1992 championship when she was 35 years, 7 months, and 8 days old.

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