Albrecht takes Harder Hall lead with record 63

Ashleigh Albrecht during stroke play of the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur.

Ashleigh Albrecht during stroke play of the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur.

SEBRING, Fla. – Ashleigh Albrecht just wanted to break 80 last week at the Dixie Amateur. In Round 1 of the Harder Hall Invitational, she shot 63. 

Frustrated with her game after the fall semester at Kentucky, Albrecht took time off during the Thanksgiving holiday. When she returned to Kentucky from her home in California, the weather was too cold to practice. When she went back to Murrieta for Christmas, the rain and mudslides lengthened her break from golf even more. In the end, the time away was more blessing than curse.

“I was becoming my worst enemy,” Albrecht said of her mental state. She re-evaluated and came to a mature conclusion: “I could be doing worse things.”

On Wednesday in Sebring, the 20-year-old found the cup as a big as wash tub, rolling in putt after putt en route to a course-record 63. Candace Schepperle shot 65 in 2009.

Florida senior Jessica Yadloczky shot 65 while a trio of players – Cheyenne Woods, defending champion Kyle Roig and Erica Popson – carded 67s.

Roig, a 17-year-old who signed with UCLA, won in freezing conditions last year. Wednesday’s 70-plus temperatures were accompanied by a nagging wind, but those here last year barely noticed as they basked in the sun wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. 

Roig is playing in her third consecutive tournament, after the Junior Orange Bowl and Dixie Amateur. She’s signed up for next week’s South Atlantic Amateur but needs to first talk to her teachers.

“It’s less energy to play a tournament than practice,” she said.

Victoria Tanco, a two-time AJGA Player of the Year, is making her debut this year on the Orange Blossom Circuit. Tanco, who won the Argentina Open in mid-December, thought she might catch the attention of Kraft Nabisco officials if she played in more American amateur events. Tanco surprisingly was omitted from last year’s list of sponsor exemptions for the year’s first women’s major. 

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