Scores continued to run low during the 2nd round of the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon. With sun, light wind, and temperatures in the 80s, it was another perfect golf day in the Pacific Northwest. Soft, receptive greens early in the day proved very receptive and friendly to lofted approaches, and at times it seemed that it was going to be a game of birdies all around! Later in the day the greens firmed up, got a little bumpy, and putting conditions got a bit more challenging.
Pronanong Phatlum (Thailand) held on to the tenuous lead she established during the first round when she overtook Lexi Thompson (USA) late in the day on Thursday. Phatlum shot a bogie-free 66 today and is 1 shot ahead of Suzann Pettersen (Norway).
Pettersen surged up the board today, coming from a 1st round 20th place to a solo 2nd. She played bogie-free golf and actually out-played Phatlum by 3 shots, with a 63. Pettersen had a very hot flat stick today. She collected 9 birdies and used only 24 putts to complete her round. Wow!
A Crowd of Contenders
Sandra Gal (Germany) is 1 shot behind Pettersen and Caroline Masson (Germany) trails Gal by 1 shot. Sandra Changkija (USA), who eagled the par5 7th today, Christie Kerr (USA) and Lizette Salas (USA) are one shot behind Masson. A well-placed shot here and a missed putt there could easily change the order of things at the top of the board.
Lexi Thompson (USA), who held the 1st round lead for most of the day yesterday, finished the 2nd round 5 shots off Phatlum’s lead. Thompson’s keeping company with Yani Tseng (Taiwan) and Si Re Pak (South Korea) at -8 for the tournament.
Defending champ Mika Miyazato (Japan) carded 71 today and at -2 for the tournament she’s on the cut line.
Among the late entries, Min Soe Kwak (South Korea) had a good day. Kwak was on the top of the alternate list and was added to the player list yesterday when Paula Creamer (USA) withdrew unexpectedly just before the tournament teed off. With no warning or preparation, barely time to tie her shoelaces, Kwak, who has yet to make a cut on the LPGA Tour, carded a very respectable 69 and had a small share of 35th place.
Kwak carded 67 today and climbed up the board to a share of 11th place and 5 shots off the lead. She’s going to make the cut this time! And she’s still keeping good company. Karrie Webb (Australia) also climbed from a share of 35th to a share of 11th today. Kwak and Webb are keeping company with Natalie Gublis (USA), Chella Choi (South Korea), Juli Inkster (USA), and Brittany Lang (USA). This is still anybody’s tournament to win.
PK Kongkraphan (Thailand), and Kristina Merkle (USA) were also late entries. Both qualified for the Safeway Classic at the Monday qualifying round. Both of them collected a bag full of bogies today. Kongkraphan is at +4 for the tournament and Merkle, an amateur, is at even par. They’ll miss the cut this time.
Nine players are within 5 shots of the lead. With continuing favorable conditions, moving day at the Safeway Classic promises a volatile leaderboard and more good golf.
The Golf Channel will provide coverage from 6:30-8:30pm, ET and I’ll be back with a wrap-up of the round as well.