Latanna Stone wins second-straight title (photo: Orlando Int. Am)
It's never easy defending a title, but Latanna Stone
made it look easy as she tamed the Crooked Cat and Panther Lake courses on her way to a dominant seven shot win in the Women's Orlando International Amateur.
Last year, Stone finished with a score of 5 under, but this year she outdid herself, finishing 12-under par for a seven-shot victory. Alexa Pano
finished in second place at 5 under and Michelle Liu
rounded out the top 3 with a score of 4 under.
Stone, a junior at LSU, is the second Tiger to win an event in the last week, following Lauren Clark's
victory at the Citrus Golf Trail.
While Stone plays her college golf in Baton Rouge, she calls Riverview, Fla. home. Her performance made it pretty clear she's comfortable playing golf in the Sunshine State.
"The thing that has helped me over the past month is being home and being able to have lessons with my mental, putting, and swing coach," Stone said. "It's hard to be at school when all of your coaches are located in Florida."
The coaching paid off right away for Stone, as the tournament started auspiciously; she eagled the par-5 first hole and followed that up with a birdie on the second. Her opening round 67 at Crooked Cat was one of only two rounds better than 71 in the entire field. Michelle Liu kept pace with a 68 of her own.
However, Stone's bogey-free second round 67 is what really separated her from the pack. With back-to-back 67s, Stone was in the driver's seat with a seven-shot lead heading into the third round.
It can be challenging to sleep on big leads. Players can get ahead of themselves or allow nerves and expectations to cloud their process. However, Stone stayed strong.
"I think that staying mentally positive helped me achieve the 'W'", Stone said following her round.
She was so locked in that she had even lost track of where she stood in the tournament.
"I kept forgetting I had a big lead and I would sometimes play a little aggressive." Stone said, "I was trying to apply some pressure."
It might be her mental strength that has lead to a really solid stretch of golf for Stone. In her last five events she had two top fives and two victories.
ABOUT THE Women's Orlando International Amateur
The Women's Orlando International Amateur
annual golf tournament gathering high-level
golfers from the United States of America and
abroad. 54-hole stroke play
championship, playing 18 holes per day.
Open to low-handicap amateurs, players who play
college golf, players who have qualified for any of
current year's USGA or R&A championships, and
those who have the recommendation of their
country’s Federation or Association.
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