Maria Fassi is desperate for a breakthrough, and halfway through the Kroger Queen City Championship, she can taste one.
The 24-year-old Mexican followed up an opening 68 by carding five birdies in her final six holes on Friday to close with a 66. She sits T-4 at 10 under, three shots off Jeongeun Lee’s 6-hole lead.
That’s a drastic difference from last Friday — and most of her season — at the Dana Open, when Fassi shot a second-round 72 after opening with a 68 en route to finishing T-73.
“Last week was the opposite for me,” Fassi said after his round. “I didn’t quite finish like I wanted to on Friday and I think that carried over to the weekend. So I’m just hoping that I turn the script this week and continue to build on how well I’ve been playing these first 36 holes.”
Carrying Friday’s momentum into the weekend could be a career changer for the former Arkansas Razorback, who won back-to-back Annika Awards (2018, ’19) as the nation’s top women’s college player.
Kroger Queen City Championship Full Court Scorer
In 58 LPGA starts as a pro, Fassi has three top 10s. One of those was a third-place finish in July at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational — a team event she played with Stacy Lewis. But outside of that result, Fassi’s best finish this year is a T-35, and she has missed seven cuts in 13 starts.
“For me, the biggest part has just been mental,” she said, “not adding more pressure, not making the week bigger than it already is. I haven’t had the year I wanted. I’m not there , where I’d rather be in the CME rankings (97th). So you start putting so much pressure on yourself, and I’ve really been working and trying to overcome all that.”
After 36 holes of the Kroger Queen City Championship, Fassi is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not to mention, if Fassi wins, Mexico will claim back-to-back LPGA winners, as Gabby Lopez won the Dana Open last week.
“I’m just very happy that the last two days have been good,” Fassi said. “A lot of very positive things. A lot to improve on. But just very happy with the way my mental game is and again, just really excited for this weekend. I’m in a position I haven’t been in for a minute.”