Stacy Lewis, the Rolex number two ranked player on the LPGA Tour fired a -3 under par 68 on Friday to get a piece of second place as The Kingsmill Championship reaches its halfway point. Lewis who lost her number one ranking after a poor finish at the tour’s first major last month in Rancho Mirage, appeared to get her game going again last week in the final round of the North Texas Shootout and it has carried into the tournament this week in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Lewis hit 15 of 18 greens on Friday, and needed on 29 putts to get around the par 71 layout to join Angela Stanford at -6 under par one shot off the pace. Stanford bogeyed the first hole, but righted the ship, and matched Lewis’ 68 for the day. Both Americans trail 17 year-old Ariya Jutanugarn by one stroke heading into Saturday’s play.
“You know, I played pretty much the same,” said Lewis. “I think I hit it a little better today, which you needed to do because it was so windy, but I gave myself a lot of birdie chances, which was nice. Definitely would have liked to have made a few more putts, but I think I’m in a really good spot going into the weekend. The wind’s not dying down out there so it’s going to be tough this afternoon.”
Ariya Jutanugarn began her second round on the back nine, and got off to a rocky start. She appears to fall into periods where she just misses a lot of putts, even short putts. You might remember earlier in the season, she made a triple bogey on the 72nd hole at her home course in Bangkok, losing the HSBC LPGA Thailand Championship to Inbee Park.
The putter attack got to her again on Friday morning when she dropped three strokes in the first eight holes. All three bogeys came by missing putts within five feet. She got the ship righted on the front nine, but only got back what she lost to finish her day at even par. She takes her -7 total into the weekend, but will have to improve with the flat stick if she wants a victory on Sunday afternoon.
She took only 24 putts to get around Kingsmill on Thursday, but stroked it 34 times on Friday.
“So it just like have to keep like my putting, you know, everything’s like I hit my irons like very good, my driver is like perfect, so I just want to try to fix my putting,” said Jutanugarn. “So after the front nine, my putting’s get better but I still miss a lot of short putt.”
The Kingsmill Championship has reached the halfway point with a nice leaderboard, and should provide LPGA fans with an exciting finish. Suzann Pettersen, Sandra Gal from Germany, and American, Cristie Kerr are two strokes back at -5 under par, and well within striking distance.
Pettersen won The LPGA LOTTE Championship two weeks ago, and finished third at The North Texas Shootout last week. She is defiantly playing well at this time, and I wouldn’t count the number five ranked player out just yet. She has a track record of getting hot on the weekend, especially when she gets her putter going.
LPGA Hall of Fame member, Juli Inkster has put two matching 69′s together to get in contention for the weekend. She joins four other golfer at -4 under par, tied for seventh place. Inkster turned pro in 1983, and has won over $13 Million dollars on tour, and still drives the golf ball over 230 yards on an average. The 1983 Rookie of the Year, and San Jose State graduate has more awards than I have space to list here. She is one of the legends on the LPGA Tour and it is great to see her on the leaderboard again.
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