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PINAY POWER — Arevalo, Guce within striking distance of Tuscaloosa crown

‘Today was the same mindset of just going into the day with no expectations.’

FILIPINAS Abegail Arevalo (left) and Clariss Guce, tied on top with Mexican Isabella Fierro, are at the cusp of winning a first Epson Tour title this season or at least scoring a best finish. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Pilipinas Golf/IG and PATRICK SMITH/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ALABAMA — Filipinas Abegail Arevalo and Clariss Guce stood at the threshold of a first Epson Tour victory of the season after grabbing a share of the leadership entering Sunday’s final round of the Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic at ‘Ol Colony Golf Course here.

The 24-year-old Arevalo turned in the best round of the day, starting off with three birdies in her first four holes on the back nine.

Cut during her last two tournaments, Arevalo moved into contention with two more birdies down the stretch making it a bogey-free 7-under round of 65. Arevalo will look to get her first top-10 finish of the year tomorrow, or even one better, her first career Epson Tour victory.

“I kind of knew my game was on today when I made back-to-back birdies on two and three, which was the start of my back nine,” Arevalo said.

“I just wanted to try and keep that momentum going and was just trying to make some more birdies. I was trying to be aggressive but still stay smart.  I wanted to make sure I wasn’t scared of certain areas, and I was just hungry for more birdies. Tomorrow is a blank slate though, I put myself in a good position and I’m excited.”

Her best finish this season were T11 outings at Island Resort and IOA Golf Classic.

Guce, 33, started off the day with two bogeys, but then flipped a switch. The next nine holes for the 33-year-old were the best nine holes of the tournament. Guce recorded seven birdies and no bogeys from holes 3-11 but would slip up with a bogey on No. 17.

The two-time Epson Tour champion responded how champions do, with a closing birdie on No. 18 to get into the final grouping, heading into the final round. Guce is currently No. 38 in the Race for the Card and with a top finish tomorrow, she will be on her way to LPGA Q-Series later this year.

“Today was the same mindset of just going into the day with no expectations,” Guce said.

“I honestly just had such a good group; it was so chill out there and 100 percent made the day easier. I just made sure to go back to my process, I made sure I was focusing on individual shots and just not trying to get too far ahead of myself.”

Tying them is Mexican Isabella Fierro who is making a late charge to try and get into the top 10 in the Race for the Card, with three straight top-10 finishes and back-to-back top-3 finishes.

The 22-year-old rookie signed for a bogey-free 6-under round, and she closed out the day strong. Birdies on four out of her last five holes jumped her into the tie for first as she looks to chase down her first Epson Tour victory as well.

A group of four players are in a tie for fourth at 8-under and round out the top of the leaderboard.

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