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Piccio birdie flurry

Mia Piccio closed out with three birdies in the last six holes at the front to fire a two-under 70 at the Bobcat course for joint 25th at the start of the LPGA and Symetra Tour Qualifying School-Stage II at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida Thursday.

Piccio looked headed for a tough day when she fumbled with three straight birdies from No. 13, negating her six-foot birdie on No. 11. But the Symetra Tour campaigner birdied the 18th, stumbled with a bogey on the first but fought back with birdies on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 to get back into the thick of things.

The ICTSI-backed bet stood just three strokes off Americans Kathleen Ekey and Beth Allen and Australian Hannah Green, who all shot 67s, in the 72-hole elims held at two venues where the top 80 players from a field of 193 will advance to the Final Stage set Nov. 28-Dec. 4.