State Farm Classic Notebook: Futscher turns in day's best score

Dave Kane and Marcia Martinez

KATIE FUTSCHER had to dial - make that putt – long distance on Friday, but she still turned in a career-low round that was also the day's best score at the LPGA State Farm Classic.

Futcher (pronounced "future'') had an eight-birdie, no-bogey round that produced an 8-under-par 64. It left her just three shots behind leader CHRISTINA KIM heading into the final two days at Panther Creek Country Club.

"Yesterday (Thursday) was one of those days where I felt like I was hitting great putts and nothing fell,'' said Futcher, a Texan who played college golf at Penn State. "Today, I certainly didn't make everything I looked at, but I made some good putts which kept the momentum going. That's always a good thing.''

Futcher's birdie putts Friday included a 30-footer on No. 12 (her third hole of the day), a 25-footer on No. 13, a 20-footer on No. 15, another 30-footer on No. 2, a 15-footer on No. 4 and an 18-footer on No. 9.

"My goal today was just to hit the greens and let everything else take care of itself,'' said Futscher, whose top finish this year was last week's tie for 13th at Toledo.

"I hit 16 greens (in regulation) and I'm pretty pleased with the way I'm playing. I keep telling my caddie, 'Just get the putter in my hand and we'll be OK.' But putting's definitely been one of the things I wanted to improve on this year. I've spent a lot of time this year working on it. It's definitely one of the things I'm doing well this year.''

Anderson misses cut

HILARY ANDERSON expects to return to work in the pro shop at Panther Creek Country Club today.

She will take in the action at the State Farm Classic from a completely different viewpoint than the one she enjoyed for six days. The Decatur native spent the past week on the other side of the ropes, playing in her first LPGA Tour event.

After firing consecutive 75s Thursday and Friday, Anderson failed to make the cut. She finished with a two-round total of 6-over 150.

The former Illinois State University golfer played her way into the tournament during Monday's qualifier and was the field's sole amateur. The experience was a dream come true.

"(Thursday) when I teed off you would have thought it was somebody famous the way the crowd roared," Anderson said. "Even coming up (No. 18 in the second round) it was pretty cool.

"It was just nice to be out here. Being here (at Panther Creek) is even cooler because I'm local and I work here."

Even though Anderson knew she probably wouldn't advance to the weekend after finishing up early Friday afternoon, she was all smiles.

"I putted better (Friday), but I didn't make as many as I wanted to," she said. "I only had only one really bad hole. It wasn't spectacular. It was decent. It will do for now."

With her LPGA debut behind her, Anderson turns her attention to her future. She plans to turn professional in a couple days.

"I can give lessons and do stuff like that," said Anderson. "In November, I will go to (qualifying school) for the Duramed Futures Tour and hopefully I will play in some Cactus Tour events in the winter in Arizona."

Cart driver recovering

A White Hall woman driving a golf cart near Panther Creek Country Club remained at Memorial Medical Center on Friday after the cart collided with a Cadillac Thursday.

JUDITH E. CASKEY, 59, was driving a golf cart in a grassy area parallel to Panther Creek Road near Wildcat Run and attempted to make a U-turn. As she turned, the golf cart drove onto Panther Creek Road and struck an eastbound Cadillac that was driven by HELEN RENFROW, 74, of the 5000 block of Blackwolf Road, a Springfield police report indicated.

The impact threw Caskey from the golf cart. She suffered a head injury, and was taken to Memorial by ambulance.

The incident occurred around 2:40 p.m. Caskey was listed in fair condition at Memorial on Friday. No citations were issued.

American contenders

The global impact on the LPGA Tour has had many observers asking, "Where are all the American players?''

But there is pretty good American representation at the Classic's midway point, with 11 of the top 20 playing on home turf this weekend.

First-place Christina Kim is followed by second-place MICHELLE WIE and SHERRI TURNER. Also in the top 20 are Americans STACY PRAMMANASUDH, CARRI WOOD, JANE PARK, ERICA BLASBERG, BETH BADER, KRIS TAMULIS and KRISTY MCPHERSON.

Early wrapup today

Play will finish at about 2 p.m. today to accommodate the scheduled sign-off on the ESPN telecast. Sunday's finish, meanwhile, is set for about 4 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony on the 18th green.

Springfield State Journal-Register