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Stone resilient in Harder Hall Women's Invitational victory
Latanna Stone (LSU photo)
Latanna Stone (LSU photo)

Latanna Stone (Riverview, Fla.) had to dig deep after surrendering a lead she had held since the second round at Harder Hall Country Club.

When her closest competitor, LSU teammate Alden Wallace (Shreveport, La.) doubled the first hole, Stone was up by five shots. But Wallace chipped away, with a key three-shot swing at the par-3 5th, to take the lead at the turn. After a birdie at the par-4 11th, Wallace was two ahead and Stone was struggling at 6 over par for the round.

But Stone flipped the switch, going three under the rest of the way and leaving Wallace and everyone else in her wake.

With three holes to go, Wallace was still one ahead, but a two-shot swing at the par-3 16th gave Stone the lead again. Perhaps pressing, Wallace then went bogey-double on the last two holes, extending Stone's final winning margin to four.

The wind played havoc throughout, after a cold front brought in steady northerly gusts. The low round of the day was 74, which made Stone's gutsy finish all the more impressive. She finished with a 75 for a 3-over 291 total. Wallace closed with a 76.

LSU took the top three places on the leaderboard, with junior Kendall Griffin (Sebring, Fla.) finishing third behind her teammates Stone and Wallace.

In the Forever 49 Division, Mary Jane Hiestand, long one of Florida's most accomplished amateurs and several times a Florida Senior Women's champion, collected another trophy with a nine-shot win over Sarah Phillips-Durst.

DAY THREE RECAP

Latanna Stone (Riverview, Fla.) shot her third straight even-par 72 in windy conditions to extend her lead to three shots heading into the final round of the Harder Hall Women's Invitational at Harder Hall Country Club in Sebring, Fla.

The final round will feel like an LSU qualifier, with the top three spots taken by Tiger players. Stone, a freshman, has a three-shot lead over sophomore Alden Wallace (Shreveport, La.), with junior Kendall Griffin (Sebring, Fla.) five shots behind.

High school sophomore Izzy Pellot (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) is tied with Griffin in third place.

The weather has kept the scores high throughout the tournament, allowing only two under-par rounds: Griffin's 71 in round one and Wallace's 70 today.

In the Forever 49 Division, Mary Jane Hiestand extended her lead to five shots over Sarah Phillips-Durst.

DAY TWO RECAP

Latanna Stone (Riverview, Fla.) shot a second-straight 72 to take a two shot lead at the halfway point of the Harder Hall Women's Invitational at Harder Hall Country Club in Sebring, Fla.

Stone began the day one shot behind friend and LSU teammate Kendall Griffin (Sebring, Fla.), who is the reigning Florida Women's Stroke Play champion and has been a fixture on Harder Hall leaderboards for years. Griffin shot a 76 on Friday but remains in contention, three shots behind Stone.

Stone and Griffin have a long history, in junior and now college golf, and at the Harder Hall.

Related: For Stone and Griffin, Harder Hall is a place to reconnect

The two will play in the final group with Jenny Bae (Lawrenceville, Ga.), a University of Georgia sophomore who sits in second, and Chelsea Dantonio (East Aurora, N.Y.), a senior at Winthrop University.

Dantonio is among three players tied for fourth, four shots behind Stone.

In the Forever 49 Division, multiple Florida Senior Women's champion Mary Jane Hiestand has a four-shot lead after rounds of 77-75.

ABOUT THE Citrus Golf Trail Ladies Invitational

Formerly known as the Harder Hall Invitational, this is a four-day no cut stroke play tournament for women amateurs. It was played at Harder Hall CC for more than 65 years, but in 2021 it moves to a rotation of courses on the Citrus Golf Trail in Sebring, Florida. The illustrious list of past champions includes the current world #1 Nelly Korda; Hall-of-Famer Joanne Carner; LPGA stars Christie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Stacy Lewis and Charley Hull; amateur legends Carol Semple Thompson and Meghan Stasi; and two members of the winning 2021 Curtis Cup Team, Emilia Migliaccio and Gina Kim. It has long drawn an international field and has three Divisions: the Championship Division, the Forever 49 Division (max index 16.4) and the Ben Roman Division (indexes from 7.0 to 24.4). It is the first of the "Orange Blossom" series of Florida winter tournaments.

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