Vibram Open--Round 2
Saturday’s second round at the 2010 Vibram Open was a scramble by a growing number of the sport’s top players for a shrinking number of spots at the top of the MPO leader board.
The youthful passion of Nikko Locastro was matched by the ironic mixture of youth and experience of Matt Orum, as they flipped yesterday’s 53 and 54 scores to pair themselves at the top of the Vibram Open leader board after today’s second round. Their 12-under pars lead a shrinking pool of only 21 players to crack the Maple Hill course code and record sub-par performances.
Someone who had access to the encryption key was the PDGA’s number-one ranked player in the world, Dave Feldberg, who landed himself smack dab next to Locastro and Orum on the strength of his 1083-rated second-round 9-under par. The intrigue of the Feldberg-Locastro rivalry continues to gain momentum, as these two players have been seemingly joined at the hip during the money rounds at the PDGA’s biggest events this year.
Feldberg was edged by Locastro at the Stockholm Open, but rebounded to win the Scandinavian Open the next week. Feldberg had Locastro in the rear view mirror for 99 holes at the Japan Open, but faltered on the 100th to relinquish his lead and allow Locastro to forge ahead on the first hole of sudden death to win in Nasu Shiobara. The two started the PDGA National Tour at The Memorial Championship trading spots at the top of the leader card throughout the four-day event, only to have Feldberg finish strong on Saturday and capture the crown.
And while this exciting rivalry continues to flourish, it may end up being the experience of the remaining lead card players, Matt Orum (two Worlds Finals) and Steve Brinster (seventh at the 2010 Worlds and long-time Touring Pro), that matters most during Vibram’s third and final round. Both have the incredible distance off the tee, while they too have found their putting strokes at the right time to be worthy of the Vibram Open’s much sought after crown.
Sarah Stanhope extended her lead at the 2010 Vibram Open over Des Reading and Valarie Jenkins, by avoiding any double-bogeys during her Saturday round and gaining a three-throw buffer. Stanhope began her front nine with an incredible one-over par performance and had many wondering how far out in front she would sprint with as much as a six-throw margin half-way through.
After carding consecutive bogeys on holes 6, 7, 8, and 9, Valarie Jenkins made the turn with conviction, playing at one-under par through the next seven. But it was a triple bogey on hole 17 that negated any progress she had made late in the round, as both leader Stanhope and second-place Reading fought hard through the punishing 8200 feet Maple Hill Gold layout.
Much like the World Championships just two weeks ago, Stanhope will again take a lead into the finals over Reading and Jenkins, who have to avoid any scoring flare-ups on Sunday to catch the newly crowned champion. Stanhope, the defending Vibram Open champion, has been here before, as this course in Leicester, Massachusetts (much like the Crown Point, Indiana World’s courses) plays very much into her strengths, as an accurate, strategic player who can navigate these world-class courses with minimal mistakes.
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