Friday, July 18, 2014

Marathon Classic Friday: Laura Diaz Finishes Strong to Maintain 3-Shot Lead on Lydia Ko and Lee-Anne Pace

On a day when Rory McIlroy overcame his Friday jinx, Laura Diaz had to deal with some 2nd-round struggles of her own at the Marathon Classic after opening with a bogey-free 62.  She was having trouble hitting fairways and getting anywhere near the pin on her approach shots for her 1st 12 holes, but she bounced back from a bogey on the par-3 6th with 4 birdies in her last 6 holes to post a 69 and get to -11.  That was good enough to maintain a 3-shot lead on Lydia Ko, who fired her 2nd-straight 67, and Lee-Anne Pace, who birdied both closing par 5s for a 68.

But even though Diaz tried valiantly to close the door she had left wide open over the 1st two-thirds of her round, many golfers made up ground on her today.  Brittany Lang led the way with a 6-birdie 66, while the list of players to match Ko's 67 was long:  So Yeon Ryu and Rebecca Lee-Bentham at -7, Kayla Mortellaro joining Lang at -6, Cristie Kerr and Candie Kung getting to -5, Mirim Lee moving to -4, and Karine Icher climbing the leaderboard to -2.  Many also made it to -3 on the day, including Caroline Hedwall and Katherine Kirk at -5, Beatriz Recari at -4, Kristy McPherson, Belen Mozo, Pernilla Lindberg, and Line Vedel at -3, Jaye Marie Green at -2, and Lisa McCloskey at +1.

Which is where the cut line fell this week.  Just barely making it into the weekend were Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Chella Choi, Tiffany Joh, and Amelia Lewis, among others.  Not so fortunate were Angela Stanford and Haeji Kang at +2, Sun Young Yoo and Jennifer Song at +3, Hee-Won Han and Gerina Piller at +4, Michelle Wie at +8, Birdie Kim and Azahara Munoz (playing with borrowed clubs as Air Canada has misplaced her regular set) at +9, and Lorie Kane at +10.  Among those who flirted with the cut line were Morgan Pressel, Meena Lee, and Jenny Shin at E, while Chie Arimura made 5 birdies in her 1st 10 holes of bogey-free golf to get to -5 for the week, but fell all the way back to -1 by the time she finished the front 9 (her back).

It was nice to see Harukyo Nomura make a hole in 1 and win a car on the par 3 14th (site of many entertaining caddie races today and a Paula Creamer defeat of Lexi Thompson in a long sprint of their own), but I'm even more excited that Ai Miyazato and Na Yeon Choi will be paired together on moving day, despite the fact that they're both back at -2 thus far.  Other cool pairings include Moira Dunn and Jennifer Rosales at -3 and Mina Harigae and Christina Kim, also at -3.

Me, I'll be trying to turn my season around in the 1st round of the Utica City Amateur tomorrow.  We should be done in time for us to catch the 3rd round on Golf Channel.  Loving the Karen Stupples-Juli Inkster team this week!

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