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By GREG CREWS email@example.com
MIAMI — Lydia Gumm knew she had her work cut out for her if she was going to make it the championship flight of the prestigious Junior Doral Classic on Monday.
A 15-over 87 on Sunday left her in 52nd place, 28 places and seven strokes off the pace to make the 24-player championship flight of the girls’ 16-18-year-old division.
On Monday, Gumm came storming back behind a 3-over 75 — the ninth-best score of the day — but missed qualifying for the championship flight by four strokes.
“My goal was to get into that flight, but I played so bad yesterday that I knew it would be really tough,” said Gumm, who enters today’s final round in ninth place in the consolation flight. “I played a lot better today than yesterday. Yesterday was a bad round. I was hitting the ball a lot better and I was hitting a lot more greens.”
Gumm, a J.T. Alton eighth grader, is 15, but decided to play up an age division to face some tougher competition. She certainly got her wish.
The 74-player field features player from all over the world. The top 10 features players from nine different countries, including only one American.
“It’s cool that we get to play with those girls,” Gumm said. “In the group that I’ve played in the last two days, out of four players, I’m the only one that speaks English. … I’ve learned some different things from them, I just can’t talk to them.”
Gumm, a two-time Kentucky Miss Golf, was added to the field after sending in a resume and being accepted. It is the first time she has played in the even, but said it has a similar feel to some of the events she plays in during the summer.
“It’s a lot like the junior worlds that I play in, in San Diego,” she said. “All the top junior players play in it, except this one is in the winter, which makes it quite a bit different.”
With the tournament being in the winter, Gumm said she was a little rusty coming in. That spelled trouble in the first round as she faced players from warmer states and warmer countries who don’t know an offseason. By the time Gumm found her stride she had dug too deep a hole.
Though she was disappointed to miss out on the championship flight, Gumm knows she still has one day to show what she’s got.
“Now, I just go out there and play the best I can,” said Gumm, who found it hard to be too upset while reporting that it was a blissful 85 degrees at Doral Golf Resort.
Gumm tees off at 9:09 this morning on the White course, the same course she played Sunday after playing the Blue course Monday.
Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754