Mo Jutanugarn took early lead; Tavatanakit stormed back in afternoon round
Patty Tavatanakit followed up her impressive 66 in Round one with a 69 (-3 under) in a windy second round, to maintain her one stroke lead. Having played the two more difficult halves of the draw, Tavatanakit has maintained her composure throughout these past couple of days, with today’s round being the more eventful. Starting on the tenth tee, Tavatanakit recorded her first bogey of the tournament, despite a great tee shot.
“The way I look at it today is a bogey is just a bogey. Doesn't mean anything. It's just one hole. You move on. There is plenty more holes and a lot of chances for you to play good. You know, just got to think positive. You can't let that affect you. It's a major. Everyone is going to make bogey, make mistakes. It's tough out there. It didn't really bother me that I made a bogey. In fact, I hit a really good shot. It just went through the green.”
She settled down and managed to get herself into a good rhythm, bouncing back with 4-straight pars, before she hit her shot of the day. With the par-4, 15th playing shorter today, at 391 yards, Tavatanakit took advantage with a great tee-shot leaving her within 115 yards of the hole. After mulling over the distances with her caddy, she settled on an approach shot of 107 yards. She promptly holed out from the fairway with a slam-dunk eagle.
“The wind was a little off the right. I've got 115 to the hole I think and the pin was pretty front. I only have five on, so -- and it was kind of windy. The greens are firm, so I wasn't going to play the short number, the front number. So, I told my caddie, I was like — I'm just going to hit like a 107 shot; everything is going far right now. It's probably going to land a little further, which it did, and just slam-dunked in. It was really good shot, a little bit of a draw spin in. I could feel it like moving right to left and towards the hole. It looked good and then I heard like (making noise) and it was a good feeling. Yeah.”
Golf tournaments are not sprints, they are marathons and that is even more apt when it comes to a major championship. Patty Tavatanakit is the leader at the mid-way point heading into the weekend. With 36 more holes of golf to play, there is plenty of opportunity for one of the established players to make a move on Saturday to get a little closer to Tavatanakit, and with a slim, one-shot lead, there is precious little margin for error on her part. But, Tavatanakit is no shrinking violet or a “wet behind the ears” type of rookie. She has played the ANA before and as an amateur, she finished with a share of 26th in 2019 before she decided to turn professional later that year. She has been a multiple winner with her UCLA Bruins and she was a multiple winner on the Symetra Tour. She has a winning mindset and is not overawed by her situation.
“I had an opportunity to play here when I was 17, I think, and then got invited again when I was in college through Golf Week, Golf Stat, you know, UCLA ranking. Those rounds honestly gave me a lot of good experiences. And, you know, like you need those kind of rounds and you need those kind of struggles. I played three majors one year and that was really tough. So you learn from that, you know, like you have to act like a grown up on the golf course and you learn how to manage yourself out here.”
After recording a second-round score of 69 ( -3 under), Moriya Jutanugarn (Mo), found herself the clubhouse leader with a two-day score of -7 under. Her ball striking was solid today, finding 13 - “Greens in Regulation” with 28 – putts. She finished her round with 4-birdies and a single bogey on the par 4, 16th hole.
“It was another pretty solid round for me. You know, I just have to be patient out there. Seems like the wind blowing, starting this morning and it just makes it different. And, yeah, just trying to be patient out there and take it when I can (scoring opportunities).”
Jutanugarn’s putting has been strong over the past two days and she is noted by her peers as being one of the best short game players on tour. These advantages will come in handy for her on the weekend as she seeks to win her first major title.
After posting an impressive 67 after the first round, Feng followed it up with a solid score of 69 ( -3 ), propelling her into sole possession of second. She had a rough start to her round, roller coaster fashion, with 2 – consecutive birdies on the first two holes, being offset by two bogeys over her next three holes. She finished her front nine with two more consecutive birdies on holes 7 & 8, before finishing with a bogey on the 9th, going out in 35. Her back nine was far more routine as she settled down with 7-consecutive pars before she finished up with birdies on the 17th and 18th, coming in with a 34.
Heading into the weekend, there are 7-major winners within 4-shots of Tavatanakit. Then there are players like Charley Hull, Moriya Jutanugarn and Shanshan Feng who have won on the LPGA and possess the game to challenge her over the next two days. It might only be halfway through the tournament, but one thing is certain already and that is the weekend is shaping up to bring plenty more terrific golf.