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Final ANWA Round For Latanna Stone Saturday After "Fun" Practice Round At Augusta National

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Final ANWA Round For Latanna Stone Saturday After "Fun" Practice Round At Augusta National

AUGUSTA, Georgia – The Friday practice round at Augusta National Golf Club for the Augusta National Women Amateur felt a little bit different than last year’s.

In 2022, the field that advanced to Augusta National after two rounds at Champions Retreat wasn’t decided until Friday morning because of weather.

“It was really rushed,” remembered Latanna Stone on Thursday, who comfortably advanced this year after her first under-par round at Champions Retreat on Thursday, a 1-under 71 to finish 36 holes at even-par 144 to stand in a tie for 14th. “We had to come out and play three holes like really early (Friday) morning and then go straight there on a bus and play (the practice round).”

When asked what she took from the experience of that Friday, Stone said: “I think the experience was Saturday, so like it was fine playing on Friday and then playing Saturday was a dream.”

Of this year’s practice round, Stone said, “I had a great group today (playing with former LSU golfer, now Indiana assistant coach Kendall Griffin and Megan Schofill of Auburn). We had so much fun. We had a blast and really just cruised through and enjoyed the golf course today. Just take it in and have fun. It’s not every day you can come out to Augusta National and play golf.”

Stone finished tied for second in the 2022 ANWA and the LSU senior has been asked in most media scrums about the aftermath of last year’ s event when she was so close to taking the title.

“Yeah, I got a lot of letters written to me, which was nice. They were sent to (LSU) and I got to read all of them. It was great. Afterward, I felt like a big embrace when I was walking down (after the round). You can high five everyone, and I was trying to enjoy that and not just be sad or anything.”

Stone then related there was a bit of “retail therapy” in her post-ANWA round at Augusta National’s merchandise building.

“I just went afterwards,” she said. “They were closing in like 30 minutes, so I had 30 minutes to browse and I just started grabbing things off the shelves. My poor boyfriend (Cameron) had a whole pile of stuff in his hands. Then they said five minutes until closing and I walked away with a lot of things, so it was very nice.”

When she asked if it was the most she’d ever spent in one place she quickly laughed and said, “Oh, I didn’t pay for it … I don’t know how much that all was. Yeah, it was a nice gift from my boyfriend.”

The nicest purchase? “Well, I got this really cute little green bag that was way — cost way too much for it to be like — it’s like this big, but it’s Masters green, so it’s worth it. Not even a purse. You could probably fit like a few pill bottles in there. I use it as my medicine holder.

Stone was asked about any shopping this year and Stone laughed and said, “Yeah, on him.”

But what if he forgot his wallet this year. Stone had the answer: “No, I wouldn’t let him do that.”

The tournament committee waited early into Friday afternoon before making a decision on tee time schedule for Saturday’s final round. The weather forecast for Saturday remains with at least a 65 percent chance of thunderstorms and gusty winds between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET.

Tee times will now start at 7:40 a.m. ET off both the first and 10th tees and Stone and Japan’s Hinano Muguruma will be the first twosome off the first tee. Muguruma is also playing in her second ANWA, but this is the first time she will be playing on the final day.

Stone and Muguruma are both in a tie for 14th place at even par.

Leader Rose Zhang at 13-under par and Ole Miss’ Andrea Lignell will go off the first hole in the final group at 8:50 a.m. ET.

With the wind and conditions, what will be the scoring be? Last year, LSU’s Ingrid Lindblad posted the lowest round of the final day at 4-under 68 to move into a second-place tie with Stone. There have only been five rounds in the 60s recorded at Augusta by the women’s am field, topped by Jennifer Kupcho’s final round 67 in the inaugural event.

Of course, the layout the players will see on Saturday will be different than the massive layout the men will see for The Masters, including the lengthened par-5 13th hole. The women will play that hole at 450 yards. With the addition of a new tee box, No. 13 will be at 545 yards next week for The Masters.

In all, the Augusta National course will play at 6,310 yards for the women’s am final round.

All 72 players got to play the course on Friday, including LSU’s Carla Tejedo, who was seeing Augusta National for the first time.

“It was incredible. I’m so sad I don’t get to play tomorrow. I’m so motivated. I actually can’t wait to come back here next year. I can’t wait,” Tejedo said after her practice round. “It’s not what you see on TV. Like it’s completely different. It’s actually way, way more difficult than TV shows. I learned that golf is really difficult and what professionals do here is actually insane.”

The Spaniard said seeing and playing the famed Amen Corner on the second nine gave her “goosebumps. But my favorite hole of the day was 16 (the short par 3 over water). It is just so beautiful. I hit it really close and made birdie. It was really incredible.”

For Ingrid Lindblad, it was a day to have fun on the course and her round around Augusta National had its memorable moments. “I had fun out there today,” the senior said. “I started with a double bogey on 10 but I finished eagle-birdie. I chipped in for eagle on No. 8 (par 5).”

Lindblad eagled that hole in competition last year en route to her 68.

Lindblad, Tejedo and the other members of the LSU team who arrive Friday evening in Augusta will be on course with Stone as well as watching some of their other friends and countrywomen in the final round.

NBC and Peacock coverage as of Friday afternoon is still set to begin at 11 a.m. CT but it is expected that there will be lots of golf coverage on the GOLF Channel’s “Live From The Augusta National Women’s Amateur,” which precedes the NBC coverage beginning at 9 a.m. CT. Mike Tirico will lead the NBC team along with Morgan Pressel, Paige McKenzie and Steve Burkowski.