Norwegian Suzann Pettersen, testing the limits of her healed back, powered through her first round to card a bogey-free 66 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout and sets the pace for the field going into the second round today at five strokes under par. However, Pettersen’s not alone at the top of the leaderboard. There’s a six-player mob coming in right behind her at four strokes under par and beneath them a crowd of eight starting the second round within three strokes of Pettersen’s early lead. Further down the board the high school and collegiate players who qualified Monday and Tuesday to play at Las Colinas Golf Club are battling against Old Man Par to get above the cut line, projected at +1, and play the weekend. Let’s give them a shout-out!
Sammi Stevens from Hereford, Texas shot 76 in the opening round. Stevens, who celebrated her 22nd birthday this week and will graduate from the University of New Mexico later in the month, helped the University of New Mexico win the Mountain West Conference Championship in March and will be playing in the NCAA West Regionals in Washington in mid-May. Today she needs to focus on the Las Colinas course.
Brittany Fan from Pearl City, Hawaii shot 79 in the opening round. She’s an incoming freshman at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Fan missed the Monday Qualifier at the LPGA LOTTE Championship two weeks ago by a single stroke, so the North Texas Shootout opportunity is particularly sweet. Fan practices out of Ko’Olau Golf Club in Pearl City and is coached by Kevin Ralbovsky who is also caddying for her this week. Coming into today’s round at +8, Fan will need a golf miracle to get up above the +1 projected cut line.
High School Qualifiers
Maddie Szeryk from Allen High School in Allen, Texas/Allen High School had the strongest opening round among the high school and collegiate qualifiers. Szeryk, who won the Texas 5A State Championship on Tuesday, carded a 74 and is going into the second round at +3, within reach of the cut line. She’s coached by Justin Pointer out of the Jim McClean Golf Center in Fort Worth and is committed to Texas A&M University. This must be an exciting opportunity for the 17-year old. She’s a big fan of Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, and Jessica Korda!
Annika Clark from Pasadena First Baptist Christian Academy in Highlands, Texas carded 80 and is going into the second round eight strokes over par. The 16 year old high school junior junior who’s committed to Texas Christian University is coached by Art Scarborough and plays out of Golfcrest Country Club. Clark says qualifying for the North Texas LPGA Shootout is her biggest accomplishment.
Power Predictions: Wie, Lewis, Thompson & Pettersen
Michelle Wie carded 67 and is leading Inbee Park and Angela Stanford, who both shot even par, by four strokes going into the second round. An eagle on the par-5 10th hole gave Wie, who made her way around the Los Colinas course yesterday with an economical 29 putts, the boost she needed to dominate her pairing. Can she stay out in front of Park and Stanford today? Perhaps, but let’s see what Park does with her flat stick.
Stacy Lewis, Azahara Munoz and Jessica Korda played a much tighter round than Wie, Park and Stanford. I predicted that Lewis would dominate the threesome, but Munoz carded 70 and has a single stroke edge over Lewis. Korda, going into today at +1, is having a little trouble keeping up. I look for a mini-shootout between Lewis and Munoz today. The outcome will depend on their putting. They both struggled to get control of the Las Colinas greens yesterday.
Lexi Thompson went to the house with a 70 yesterday and easily dominated Sandra Gal and Brittany Lang. Lang is starting today at even par and Gal, who carded a whopping 76, is trailing Thompson by nine strokes. The only way Gal’s going to be able to catch up is for Thompson to meet her on the way down the board, and I don’t think that’s going to happen. Thompson should easily dominate in this group.
Suzann Pettersen, who’s set the pace at the North Texas Shootout, has a slight edge on Cristie Kerr, who carded 67 and trails Pettersen by a single stroke. Lizette Salas, who just couldn’t seem to find the short grass in the first round, has some catching up to do today. She’s starting the round three strokes over par. Can Pettersen stay on top? This one’s a wait and watch.
Golf Channel will join the second round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout at 12:30 ET and I’ll follow with a look at who’s going to be around for the weekend.