CROSSVILLE – Hanley Long wasn’t even sure if she was going to compete in the Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open this year.
Coming off her junior season at Middle Tennessee State University, the Clarksville native spent the next two months doing an internship with the United States Golf Association at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
During that time, she rarely picked up a golf club. But thanks to some persuasion from MTSU head coach Chris Adams and teammate Jenna Burris, Long made the trip to Crossville this week.
And now she finds herself in contention for the title heading into the final round.
Long turned in the low score of the second round at the Open on Friday, firing a 4-under, 68 at Stonehenge Golf Club to leave herself at 3-under for the championship, one stroke back of the leaders entering Saturday.
Emily McLennan (Sicklerville, N.J.), Hannah Kim (Evanston, Il.) and Maria Fernanda Lira Solis (Mexico City) are tied for first at 4-under.
“I’m pretty surprised with myself right now,” Long said. “I took some time off after conference in April and then I was gone to New York for two months and picked up a golf club one time.”
“I was a little shaky coming out here, but my coach and my teammate Jenna Burris were adamant about me playing regardless if I felt prepared.”
Long turned in a bogey-free round that included three birdies in her opening five-hole stretch.
Long and Burris have teamed up to win the Tennessee Four-Ball Championship two of the past three years.
“Today, I struck the ball really well,” Long added. “If I did have a miss-hit, I didn’t leave myself in bad spots. I was rolling my putter really well. Last night, me and my dad worked on my putting for quite a bit and it definitely showed today.”
Kim entered Friday as the day-one leader, and followed up her opening-round 68 with an even-par, 72.
Kim recently finished up an All-American career at Northwestern University, where she was a two-time Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.
McLennan, a former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga standout, and Lira Solis, who played at Central Arkansas, have both went 70-70–140 over their first two rounds.
Karah Sanford (Escondido, Calif.) and Eunice Yi (Evans, Ga.) are the only other two players to sit under par for the tournament heading into the final round. They are tied for fifth at 1-under.
The champion of the Senior Division of the Tennessee Women’s Open was crowned on Thursday, and Terri McAngus of Mt. Juliet won the title by three strokes over Lynda Wimberly (Brentwood) and Paula Pearson-Tucker (Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Those three were separated by only a single stroke when they made the turn in their final round. McAngus and Pearson-Tucker were tied through No. 14.
McAngus shot 81 both days to finish at 162.
GOLF CAPITAL OF TENNESSEE
AT STONEHENGE GOLF CLUB
Second round, July 27
T1 Emily McLennan -4
T1 Hannah Kim -4
T1 Maria Fernanda Lira Solis -4
4 Hanley Long (a) -3
T5 Karah Sanford -1
T5 Eunice Yu -1
T7 Jessica Porvasnik E
T7 Kasey Petty E
T7 Nicole Autrique E
10 Anna Lesher +1
T11 Kie Purdom (a) +2
T11 Mychael O’Berry (a) +2
T13 Ashli Bunch +3
T13 Rachael Taylor +3
T13 Alyssa Montgomery (a) +3
T13 Brooke Baker +3
T13 Ji Eun Baik +3
T13 Nadine White +3
T19 Josephine Chang (a) +4
T19 Meagan Wallace +4
T19 Sarah Hoffman +4
T19 Summar Roachell +4
For full results from the 20th annual Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open:https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1330097