Emma Schroeder hasn't won a tournament since high school. And that was a one-day event.
So she's in unfamiliar position atop the leader board heading into the final round of the Women's City Tournament. The good news is she's got plenty of breathing room at Coyote Creek Golf Club and the key, according to Schroeder, is to not change her mentality despite the high stakes.
“I'll celebrate this for a little bit that I played well,” Schroeder said Saturday night. “Tomorrow's a new day. I need to stay calm and play it one hole at a time.”
Schroeder is at a 1-under 143 through 36 holes, including an even-par 72 in the second round, and she's seven strokes ahead of Casey Bunner and Brooke Moser.
“I didn't have a lot of putts drop, so I was just trying to remember that every hole was a new hole and I just tried to stay focused,” said Schroeder, 21, a Homestead graduate who now plays for Purdue Fort Wayne.
Schroeder totaled 28 second-round putts, a deceiving statistic because she had several shots from the fringe. She put some room between herself and her playing partners, Moser and Lexy Stuckey, with a birdie on the par-5 15th – after she'd given herself a chance at eagle – and wowed with what she did on the par-5 18th. In front of a clubhouse gallery, Schroeder's drive and second shot both wound up in the rough, but she converted a 45-foot putt for birdie to complete a 1-under 35 on the back nine.
“My caddie said, 'You better get this (putt) to the hole,' because I had left a lot of putts short. So, I said, 'All right, I'm going to get this one to the hole.' And it found its way in,” Schroeder said.
It will take quite a turn of events for someone to catch Schroeder at the City Tournament, which has been held annually since 1931, but Bunner applied a smidge of pressure with a second-round 74 to bring her to 6-over 150. After bogeying Nos. 8 and 9, Bunner settled down and parred four straight holes before bogeying the par-3 14th, birdying the 15th and going even par on the back nine.
Bunner, 22, is a close friend of Schroeder's and they will be teammates this season for PFW. Bunner, a Blackhawk Christian graduate, played the last four years for Mount Vernon Nazarene, an NAIA program, and recently transferred to PFW to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility given to athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moser, 22, is a Leo graduate who plays collegiately for Southern Indiana, and she had a 78 on Saturday to put her in the tie with Bunner for second place.
After double-bogeying the par-5 second hole, Moser was back and forth all day, totaling two birdies, six bogeys and 39s on both sides.
Moser and Stuckey came into the day one stroke back of Schroeder. Stuckey, a 21-year-old DeKalb graduate who now plays for Butler, shot an 80 and is in fourth place at 8 over.
Kimberly Cornman is in fifth place at 9 over following a second-round 77. Lori Stinson, a five-time champion, is in sixth place at 10 over after a 79. Cassidy Ayres shot a 78 and is in seventh place at 11 over.
“It was a little windier today, so we were playing against that a little bit,” said Schroeder, who finished fifth in the 2020 event run by the Fort Wayne Women's Golf Association. “The pin placements were a little harder today, too, and I think that affected the putting a little.”
At Coyote Creek Golf Club
Par: 72; Yardage: 5,667
1. Emma Schroeder 71-72—143 -1
2. Casey Bunner 76-74—150 +6
2. Brooke Moser 72-78—150 +6
4. Lexy Stuckey 72-80—152 +8
5. Kimberly Cornman 76-77—153 +9