Sunday, September 30, 2012


Smith, Iacobelli and Massey Share Second-Round Lead

Nicole Smith and Daniela Iacobelli both sat three shots off the lead after the first round of the Daytona Beach Invitational, and with only two days left in the 2012 season, the third-year pros had a sense of urgency  to make their way to the top of the leaderboard. 
The duo carded rounds of 4-under par 68 to go 7-under after 36 holes of play and hold a share of the lead with first-round leader Courtney Massey.
Smith had her work cut out for her early during Saturday’s second round as she found herself 3-over for the day after only two holes. Currently ranked No. 9 on the Volvik Race for the Card standings, Smith started with a three-putt double-bogey on the par-4 first followed by a bogey on the par-4 second.
She immediately rebounded to card three birdies on the front-nine and made the turn at even-par for the day. 
The birdies continued for Smith on the back-nine as she recorded four additional birdies to finish the day with a 4-under par 68.
Iacobelli had a less eventful front nine and carded one of her five birdies before she made the turn on the par 4 seventh. She got two more birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 before she carded her only bogey of the day on the par-4 16th
But the Viera, Florida native insisted on a strong finish a rattled off back-to-back birdies on her final two holes to finish 4-under for the day.
Massey put on quite the putting demonstration during Friday’s first round but Saturday proved to be just the opposite for the overnight leader. While Massey struggled with her ball striking on Friday, that was just the key to her 1-under par 71 on Saturday.
Massey began the day with a birdie on the par-4 first but immediately dropped a shot after a bogey at the par-4 second. Massey then reeled off a string of pars until a birdie at the scoreable par-5 18th.
The trio holds a one-shot lead over a group of four including No. 3 Victoria Elizabeth, No. 10 Sara-Maude Juneau, Stephanie Connelly and Erica Moston who sit at 6-under 138.

 Nicole Smith is in the midst of a stellar season that has been highlighted by four top-10 finishes including tied for second at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic and for the University of Tennessee graduate, a year has made all the difference in the world.
Last year, Smith made $17,121 which landed her 32nd on the season-ending money list and only made nine out of 16 cuts. This year has been the complete opposite for the third year Symetra Tour member who stands No. 9 on the Volvik Race for the Card standings and is the only player inside the top-10 that has failed to miss a cut all season.
“I didn’t want to talk about that, but I can talk about it now,” Smith said after safely making the cut this week. 
“I started noticing that a little over halfway through the season. I made all of them after missing over half of them last year and it feels really good, I like it.”
Smith has placed a large emphasis on improving her swing and the hard work has paid off as this year on tour she ranks 11th in scoring average, second in average driving distance, first in greens in regulation, and first in birdies.
“I work really hard on my swing and I’m very proud of how I guess, they tell me it looks easy,” said Smith. “It doesn’t feel easy all the time but it’s good, it’s very simple, I work very hard at getting it that way. I think my swing coach has done a really good job.”

A total of 72 players made the cut which fell at 1-over par 145. They did not included Rachel Connor from Manchester, England nor Olivia Jordan-Higgins from the Channel Islands. Olivia withdrew, either injured or ill.