Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, started the homestretch of her senior season at Purdue this week when the Boilermakers hosted the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
Kan is the senior leader on a young team that is trying to get Purdue back among the elite. Kan was a sophomore when the Boilermakers featured two future pros in South African Paula Reto and Laura Gonzalez-Escallon of Belgium and finished third at the NCAA Tournament. She has been to the NCAA Tournament every year, her first two years as part of strong Purdue teams and last year as an individual. I’m pretty sure she would like to have her teammates along for the ride at the NCAA Tournament this year.
Kan opened the Lady Puerto Rico with rounds of 77 and 81 and Purdue sat in seventh place. Having covered Kan throughout her high school career, I’m guessing she took a look in the mirror after those two rounds and said quite simply, “You’re better than that.”
In Tuesday’s final round, Kan ripped off a nearly flawless three-birdie, no-bogey 3-under 69 to lead the Boilermakers to a 290 team score that enabled them to move up to fifth in the final team standings at 890. Purdue had opened the tournament with a pair of 300s. The 290 single-day total was matched only by team champion Arkansas on Day 1 of the event.
The Razorbacks backed up that opening-round 290 with rounds of 295 and 291 to cruise to the team title with an 876 total. LSU was seven shots back in second at 883 followed by Iowa State (884) in third and Northwestern (886) in fourth, four shots ahead of fifth-place Purdue.
Iowa State was led by individual champion Chonlada Chayanun, who put together rounds of 66, 69 and 74 for a 7-under 209 total, the second-best individual finish in the history of the event.
Purdue got a strong showing from its most talented player, sophomore Floridian August Kim, who matched par 72 in each of the first two rounds and then added a final-round 73 to finish in a tie for sixth at 1-over 217. Junior Anna Appert Lund (75-74-74—223) of Sweden and freshman Marta Martin (76-73-74—223) of Spain finished in a tie for 22nd and Kan’s final-round surge left her in 33rd place.
Johanna Tillstrom, a senior from Sweden, had three straight 81s to finish in a tie for 75th at 243. A third Swede, freshman Linn Andersson, competed as an individual and had rounds of 75, 80 and 76 to finish in a tie for 44th at 231.
It was an encouraging start for a Purdue team that entered the Lady Puerto Rico ranked 45th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin national rankings. Something tells me with a senior leader like Kan and some talented youngsters, that ranking is going nowhere but up.
PGA Tour returning to Aronimink?
There were whispers around the Daily Times newsroom Wednesday – actually it was an email from editor Phil Heron, but the whisper thing sounds more intriguing – that the PGA Tour is coming back to Aronimink Golf Club in the form of the 2018 BMW Championship.
The BMW is the penultimate event in the FedEx playoffs, the last step before the Tour Championship. It’s been moved around to several top courses, last year being played at Cherry Hills Country Club in suburban Denver, a course that has hosted three U.S. Opens, most notably Arnold Palmer’s epic comeback victory in the 1960 Open. Cherry Hills, by the way, is a William Flynn design, like so many of the courses in our area, including Rolling Green Golf Club.
It’s not surprising that the PGA Tour would find a way to get an event back to Aronimink. The two AT&T Nationals staged at the Donald Ross gem in 2010 and 2011 were flawlessly run and drew huge and enthusiastic galleries, despite being staged on the Fourth of July weekend. Aronimink was filling in for Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington D.C., while it was busy staging the 2011 U.S. Open.
Aronimink produced two worthy winners in Justin Rose in 2010 (who would then get his biggest win three years later at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course) and Nick Watney in 2011.
Stay tuned on this possible development.