Prammanasudh Out Front in Kansas
I expect to be here, said Prammanasudh, who fired a 69 for the second day to take the lead at 6-under 138 at Willowbend Golf Club. Now, its just a matter of getting it done.
Prammanasudh was tested on her first nine holes with three bogeys and three birdies. That included two back-to-back bogeys on holes 7 and 8, in which her approach shots came up short of the green. Both times, she ran her chips past the hole and failed to get up and down for par. But an 8-iron to 18 feet at the ninth green converted for birdie, allowing Prammanasudh to make the turn at 3-under and a share of the lead with Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who fired an even-par 72 to finish at 3-under 141. Moon is tied for second with Isabelle Beisiegel of Norman, Okla., who carded a 70 in Saturdays second round.
The Kansas wind, blowing from an opposite direction on Saturday than on Friday, tested Prammanasudhs patience and club choices, but the Oklahoman assured herself that she wasnt alone in the guessing game of prairie golf.
There werent a lot of lower scores from the morning rounds, said the four-time NCAA All-American and current non-exempt member of the LPGA Tour. You know people are going to make bogeys when its that windy and you know that you just have to be patient.
Prammanasudh also drew on her experience to remind herself that you get a balance in windy rounds. True to her belief, the two consecutive bogeys from the last three holes on the front nine were countered with three birdies on the back nine with two at holes 16 and 18. Her 15-foot birdie at the 18th was a timely punctuation to a round that included 12 hit fairways, 13 greens and 28 putts.
Moons hot putter from Friday was gone and the Korean teen found herself struggling both on the greens and with her confidence.
My putts were weird and they were too short and too long, said Moon, 19, a non-exempt LPGA Tour member who won the seasons opening tournament at the Lakeland Futures Golf Classic. Everything was bad and it complicated my head.
Beisiegel, a native of Montreal who remained in Norman after playing golf at the University of Oklahoma, had a dizzying second-round 70 that featured seven birdies and four bogeys. On her final five holes, the Canadian birdied holes 14, 17 and 18, with bogeys at 15 and 16. It was a day that could have taken even more strange turns if her patience had drifted.
I kept my composure and stayed patient, she said. I was up and down, up and down, but it was fun.
Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England fired a 69, and Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, Korea, who shot a 71, moved up the leader board for a fourth-place tie at 142 (-2). Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, who was one shot behind the leaders at 2-under 70 after the first round, withdrew after nine holes Saturday due to illness.
But while wind and will tested the field today on the 6,260-yard course, the tournaments leader knows Sundays final round will pose yet another trial. Prammanasudh has played in the final group on Sunday in her last two tournaments, trailing the leaders by one shot both times. Each time, she carded over-par final rounds and came up short of her first tournament victory.
In the past, I tried to force birdies, said Prammanasudh, who grabbed the second round lead with the same determination she had used to win 10 collegiate titles. Its very important that I get this done because Ive been here three weeks straight. Now, I just need to let them catch me.
Seventy-two players made the 36-hole cut at 151 (+7).
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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.