Candace Schepperle And Cydney Clanton Ready For LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship
March 31, 2010
AUBURN - Having compiled an impressive season thus far, senior Candace Schepperle and junior Cydney Clanton will put their game up against the best as they travel to Rancho Mirage, Calif., for the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Now in its 39th year of existence, the Kraft Nabisco Challenge is one of the LPGA's major championships. The event began in 1972 as the Colgate Dinah Shore and became a major in 1983.
Schepperle and Clanton are two of seven amateurs competing in the 116-player field. Other amateurs include Jennifer Johnson, Kimberly Kim, Jessica Korda, Jennifer Song and Alexis Thompson.
The two Auburn standouts have seen their share of professional playing experience before, but Schepperle enters the weekend having already seen the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"I have played in LGPA events before and I have played in the Kraft Nabisco," said the senior. "The best players in the world are going to be out there so you can't have too many expectations as an amateur. You've just got to go out there, play your game and see how it goes."
Clanton, however, will be a newcomer to the championship and admits that the new-tournament feel will be there too.
"I will be feeling a little bit of everything - excitement and a little bit of nerves," said Clanton. "I just hope to play well. I am going out there with a lot of goals and I am hoping to meet them."
The Kraft Nabisco Championship is held at the par-72, 6,702 yard Dinah Shore Tournament Course at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. In last year's championship, Brittany Lincicome carded a 9-under par 279 to take the top position.
Taking to the links on Thursday, Clanton and Schepperle face a field with the top golfers in the world including Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Yani Tseng, Anna Nordqvist, Karrie Webb and Michelle Wie.
Though they will be surrounded by top-notch competition, Clanton says that the hype will not be a distraction.
"I have been there before and I know what it feels like to be out there with the crowds and all the commotion," said Clanton. "I am not concerned about that. I should just try to get comfortable for the first few days and I should be fine."
Between the two golfers, Schepperle and Clanton have experience in eight LPGA events.
Schepperle will be seeing action in her sixth LPGA tournament this weekend. She has competed in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, the 2008 CN Canadian Open, the 2009 State Farm Classic, the 2009 U.S. Women's Open and the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
In the 2009 U.S. Women's Open, the Birmingham, Ala., native earned a 70th place finish after carding a 73-78-76-79 week for a tournament-total 22-over 306. She also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur before falling to eventual-runner-up Jennifer Johnson.
In last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship, Schepperle posted an even-par 72 in the first round, but missed the cut after shooting an 86 in the second round.
Auburn junior Clanton is no stranger to the national spotlight either. Clanton qualified for the 2008 U.S. Women's Open after shooting rounds of 69 and 71 in the 36-hole, one-day sectional qualifying event.
The Tigers have seen action in Arizona this season, but Schepperle says that the opportunity to play in California is one that she eagerly anticipates.
"I am really excited to go out to California and hopefully play in good weather," said Schepperle. "It is always exciting to go somewhere and play with such great players on such a great course."
Despite Schepperle having played the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year, she is unable to offer much advice to first-timer Clanton.
"I have not been able to give her much advice lately," admitted Schepperle. "She is playing good enough golf right now that she does not need much input. I have told her to keep going, she is playing well enough to win it and she should have those expectations for herself."
Action for the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship will begin on Thursday, April 1 and will run through Sunday, April 4. Coverage for the first three rounds will be provided by ESPN2 from 4-6 p.m. CT, while the final round will be televised from 2-5 p.m. CT by CBS.
Schepperle will tee off at 10:02 a.m. CT, Thursday in the first round, playing with Yuko Mitsuka. Clanton will close out the day as she tees off at 3:28 p.m. CT with Jimin Kang. Fans can follow along with live scoring at www.LPGA.com.
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