Looking to overcome pressure, Maria Fassi in hunt at Kroger Queen City Championship

·2 min read

Maria Fassi is desperately looking for a breakthrough, and halfway through the Kroger Queen City Championship, she can taste one.

The 24-year-old Mexican followed up an opening 68 by carding five birdies in her final six holes Friday to close with a 66. She sits T-4 at 10 under, three shots off Jeongeun Lee6's lead.

It's a drastic difference from last Friday — and most of her season — at the Dana Open when Fassi shot a second-round 72 after opening with a 68 en route to finishing T-73.

"Last week it was the opposite for me," Fassi said after her round. "I didn't quite finish the way I wanted on Friday, and I think it carried to the weekend. So I'm just hoping that I flip the script this week and just continue to build on how good I've been playing these first 36 holes."

Carrying Friday's momentum into the weekend could be a career changer for the former Arkansas Razorback, who won back-to-back Annika Awards (2018, '19) as the nation's best female college player.

Full-field scores from the Kroger Queen City Championship

In 58 LPGA starts as a professional, Fassi has three top 10s. One of those was a third-place finish in July at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational — a team event that she played with Stacy Lewis. However, outside of that result, Fassi's best finish this year is a T-35, and she's missed seven cuts in 13 starts.

"For me, the biggest part has just been mentally," she said, "not adding more pressure, not making the week be bigger than it already is. I haven't had the year that I wanted. I'm not where I want on CME rankings either (97th). So you start putting so much pressure on yourself, and I've been really working and trying to overcome all of that."

After 36 holes of the Kroger Queen City Championship, Fassi is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Not to mention, if Fassi emerges victorious, Mexico will claim back-to-back LPGA winners, as last week, Gabby Lopez won the Dana Open.

"I'm just very happy that these last two days have been good," Fassi said. "A lot of very positive things. A lot to improve. But just very happy with the way my mental game is, and, again, just really excited for this weekend. I'm in a position I haven't been in a minute."