So, of course, the question asked of Belén Mozo was this: What changed?
The putting, for sure, said Mozo, after she tied a course record at Sycamore Hills Golf Club with a 6-under 66 to win the two-day Mad Anthonys Charity Classic for Children with a total of 4-under.
The only thing Monday that kept her from bettering the only other 66 ever shot here – by Ariya Jutanugarn at the 2011 Junior PGA Championship – was a 30-foot putt for birdie on the 18th green that circled the cup without falling.
That was familiar feeling for Mozo, the former USC player, in her second LPGA season.
Did you see my last lip out? Well, yesterday, I had like five of those, said Mozo, who had a first-round 74. Today, I told my caddy, I’m not going to lip out anymore.’ Then, I started making good putts and then started making birdies. I still lipped out a few birdies. I know you won’t believe that, since I shot 66, but I could have shot 9-under, easily.
Her 66 was plenty, though, to overtake first-round leader Angela Stanford, Azahara Munoz and Beatriz Recari, all of whom finished two strokes back, and take the $50,000 first price offered up by Heritage Food Service Group.
Though this was the 55th running of the tournament, it was a first with this format. Attendance was about 1,400 Monday, according to tournament organizers, and about 3,400 total.
A charity event, the Charity Classic for Children raises money for the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House, which provides lodging and support services for the families of children undergoing pediatric and neonatal treatment. Last year, the Mad Anthonys, business leaders and professionals from northeast Indiana, raised a record $115,000. This year’s total, expected to exceed that, will be announced in July.
It was a great day, said Mozo, who has yet to win a sanctioned LPGA event. Once you get into the momentum and feel the greens, it was great playing today. I felt very peaceful. The course here is beautiful. The people were very nice. I never felt nervous of anxious. I was just enjoying the day and the course, everything.
There was better scoring in the second round at Sycamore Hills, a 6,631-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course; six players shot under par, two more than in the first round, when Stanford shot a 68 and Stacy Lewis had a 71.
(Sunday) was the first time I saw the course, so even though my teammates (in the pro-am) were telling me where to go, it’s always kind of scary because you don’t really know what’s going on, Munoz said. But today, I knew where to hit it and the speed of the greens better, and all of that.
Stanford (68-74), Munoz (72-70) and Recari (72-70) each got $30,000 in earnings for finishing second in the tournament, hosted by Amanda Blumenherst, who took 11th at 8-over. Vicki Hurst finished fifth at 1-over (75-68) and got $20,000, as did the rest of the field.
I didn’t do as well as yesterday. I just hit a few bad clubs and felt like I didn’t drive it as well today, Stanford said. I thought, if anything, the setup was easier today. The pin placements were more accessible but I didn’t drive the ball very good today.
Another factor Monday was the wind, which at least helped keep everyone cool. Except for Mozo, who used her disappointing first-round 74 as motivation to heat up.
To be honest with you, after my (first) round, I was little bit disappointed, she said. I still count this, not as a tournament, but for me I’m concentrating and looking at my stats. It’s a big deal for me because I look at my game and myself under pressure. I didn’t understand why I lipped out so much and I felt like I left so many shots that I could have made.
I said to myself, when I went to bed (Sunday), It’s a hard thing to do, but you are the first one teeing off and you will have that advantage and (if you shoot) 6- or 7-under, it will do it.’ I lipped out (on No. 18) for 7-under, but 6-under, I won’t complain.