Dalton, Sturgeon Struggle In Opening Round Of Copper Rock Championship

Apr 21, 2022, 5:20 PM
Photo courtesy: Tom Hackett...
Photo courtesy: Tom Hackett

SALT LAKE CITY – The opening round of the Copper Rock Championship consisted of wind gusts of 50 miles per hour making life treacherous for the playing field as they battled the conditions.

The two players with local ties include former BYU Women’s golf star Kendra Dalton and Utah Tech university alumni Haley Sturgeon. Dalton calls the Epson Tour home annually, while Sturgeon is playing the Copper Rock Championship on a sponsors exemption following her third consecutive Utah PGA Women’s Player of the Year award.

Dalton Struggles Early

Dalton concluded the opening round with a five-over-par round of 77. A bogey on the opening hole was followed by four consecutive pars before disaster struck on the downhill par 3 6th when she made a double bogey. Another bogey on 8 before her second double bogey of the round on nine and she made the turn at six-over-par after fighting the toughest stretch on the golf course to close her opening nine holes.

Then, Dalton managed to put together a one-under-par closing nine-hole stretch following a wonderful birdie on the par 5 12th that was playing downwind. Despite the difficult start, Dalton enters the clubhouse in a share of 72nd place.

“I tried to not think about it, it was really frustrating, some of those bogeys and doubles at the start but I was like you know what everyone has to deal with it so just laugh it off and I started to hit some good shots and made some really nice saves,” Dalton told KSL Sports following the conclusion of her round.

Sturgeon Finds Trouble

Sturgeon teed off in the group behind Dalton and followed with a bogey on the opening hole, followed by bogeys on two and three to immediately sit at three-over-par thru three holes. Sturgeon stopped the bleeding and put together a three-hole par stretch before going bogey, par, double to make the turn at six-over.

“We came out two weeks ago when it was like this and the practice round was like this so you are just mentally trying to get ready for it but unfortunately I could not settle into it and accept it. I felt like I was fighting it [the wind] a lot but I knew it was coming I just couldn’t wrap my head around it,” Sturgeon said post-round.

The back nine was much improved as Sturgeon only made bogey on three of the nine holes. However, the birdie-less round sent Sturgeon into the clubhouse at nine-over-par for the day and in a tie for 114.

Big Second Round Needed

Both Dalton and Sturgeon must put together an impressive second round if they intend on making the cut.

Currently, former LPGA player Kim Kauffman leads the tournament at two-under-par, while New Zealand native Amelia Garvey and Kiira Riihijarvi from Finland find themselves one shot back in a tie for a second.

Following Friday’s round, the top 60 and ties will qualify for the final round on Saturday. As it stands, both Dalton and Sturgeon will need to improve if they intend on playing on Saturday’s round.

Both players a year ago capitalized on friendlier conditions during the second round of play. Dalton made the cut while Sturgeon missed out by just one shot.

This year, Sturgeon believes the lessons learned from last year will hopefully provide more opportunities this year.

Tee times and pairings ahead of the second round are yet to be released.




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Dalton, Sturgeon Struggle In Opening Round Of Copper Rock Championship