CSU’s Prendergast opens up 3-shot lead going into final round of CoBank Colorado Women’s Open
by Gary Baines
Amateur Katrina Prendergast may be competing against a bunch of pros this week at the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open — and beating them all through Thursday’s second round — but in a couple of very notable ways, she’s in a different world.
First, should the Colorado State University senior win the overall title on Friday at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, she’ll have to grin and bear it as the low pro is presented a $50,000 check, while she receives $750 worth of merchandise as the low amateur.
“That would be a little weird,” she said of the hypothetical. “But one more year of college is the perfect amount of time for me to keep my game going, then see what happens after.”
And second, it’s a good bet the competing pros aren’t squeezing in a couple of college classes before teeing off at GVR, or a long one after getting done, as Prendergast did on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. She attended 8 and 9 a.m. classes at CSU before round 1 and a 5-8 p.m. class after round 2.
“I’m going to miss so much class during the (school) year for golf that I might as well go (to classes) while I can,” Prendergast noted. “Today might be a little bit of a hard day because I have a three-hour class. The 8 and 9 a.m. classes weren’t too bad to come out and play golf (afterward). I love golf.”
Despite mixing school and a big tournament, Prendergast (pictured) will take a three-stroke lead into Friday’s final round of the Colorado Women’s Open. She’s attempting to become just the second amateur to win the overall title in this event, joining Paige Mackenzie, who managed the feat a dozen years ago.
On Thursday, Prendergast had a little bit of everything in her round of 2-under-par 70. She eagled the par-5 18th hole (her ninth) from 17 feet after hitting a 3 hybrid in from 225 yards. Three holes earlier, she made a double bogey after a three putt. She also tossed in four birdies and two bogeys, including one of the three-putt variety on her final hole.
Add it up and the Sparks, Nev., resident checked in at 6-under-par 138.
“I feel good. My game is good,” said the 20-year-old, who paired with CSU teammate Ellen Secor to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball title in May. “I’ve just got to go out and play my game tomorrow and see what happens. I’ve just got to go out and do my thing and not worry who I’m playing against.”
Prendergast normally tees it up against amateur-only fields, but this is the second time this month she’s competed against a mix of mainly pros and some ams at a state open. A few weeks ago, she finished second at the Utah Women’s Open after firing a final-round 63.
“I like playing against professionals because it makes me want to step up my game and be like them. It’s fun,” she said.
Prendergast is one of eight players who will go into Friday’s final round under par.
Jessica Vasilic (left), a 6-foot-3 player from Sweden, was the one major threat to Prendergast’s lead on Thursday as she was 5 under for the tournament through 31 holes. But she played her last five in 5 over par, going from second to ninth place with a second-round 74 leaving her at even-par 144 overall.
Holding down second place at 141 through two days is Hannah Kim of Chula Vista, Calif., who posted the low round of the tournament, a 5-under 67 on Thursday. The rookie pro from Northwestern played her final 15 holes of round 2 in 6 under par and birdied four of her last five holes.
Last month, Kim made the Illinois Women’s Open her first professional victory.
The players — Lexi Harkins of Crystal Lake, Ill., amateur Aneta Abrahamova of Slovakia and Christine Meier of Rochester Hills, Mich. — are tied for third place at 142
Also in the under-par mix is rookie pro Brittany Fan, a former University of Colorado golfer who was the 2013 low amateur in this event. Fan, who won a Cactus Tour event in her pro debut last month, recently punched her ticket to Stage II of LPGA Tour Q-school. She shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday to post a 1-under 143 total, good for a share of sixth place. She made five birdies in round 2.
Notable: The field was cut to the low 40 players after 36 holes, and the golfers who finished two rounds at 6-over 150 and better advanced to Friday. … In the low-amateur competition, Prendergast remains four strokes ahead of second-place Abrahamova, who matched the CSU golfer’s second-round 70. … Massage Envy leads the pro-am team competition with one round remaining, sitting at 19-under-par 125, one shot better than title sponsor CoBank. … Former University of Texas golfer Sophia Schubert, winner of the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, carded a 2-under-par 70 on Thursday to sit at 145, good for a share of 12th place. Schubert started the tournament with a triple bogey on Wednesday. … Sixteen-year-old pro Karah Sanford, a native of Montrose, withdrew after a first-round 83. … The leaders will tee off for Friday’s final round at 9:15 a.m.
For scores from the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open, CLICK HERE.
For Friday’s final-round pairings, CLICK HERE.