“You’re just really trying to play the course, what it gives us,” Pettersen said after her round. “There are certain holes you can take advantage of, and then others that are more ‑‑ where par is a good score. But I think today even on the holes where I felt like I should have made a birdie and I made a par, I said, Par is not going to hurt me today. So a decent day. It was tough to play solid golf.”
A day after scoring conditions were nearly ideal in Kapolei, Hawaii, the weather turned back to what it typical for the Aloha State. The winds blew steadily at 10-15 mph and gusted up to near 20 mph at Ko Olina for Thursday’s second round. It was immediately evident to the players who teed off in the morning group that scoring conditions would be much more difficult.
“We were warming up at 6:30, 7:00 in the morning and the wind is howling,” said Stacy Lewis, who shot 71 and is tied for sixth at 6-under-par. “I mean, going into the day sitting on the range you knew it was going to be hard. You just had to fight for every shot. You couldn't really try to make too many birdies. You just had to kind of take some putts if they came and grind out a few pars. Anything under par today, I think, is a good score.”
Miyazato was the early clubhouse leader at 9-under-par after teeing off in the morning wave and making seven birdies and three bogeys in her round. The Okinawa, Japan native really got things going during her back nine, putting together a stretch of five birdies in six holes to push her toward the top of the leaderboard.
Lewis, who is looking to regain her No. 1 ranking after losing it to Inbee Park on Monday, has slowly been putting herself in position to do just that. A victory this week would automatically move Lewis into the top spot while she has a shot to regain the ranking with a finish of sixth or better with all of those scenarios taking into account Park’s finish.
Park followed up her first-round 70 with a 1-under 71 and she sits in a T19 at 3-under-par. The only other player who has an opportunity to take over the top spot this week is Yani Tseng, who must win to regain the No. 1 position. Tseng has her work cut out for her as she sits in a tie for 38th at 1-under-par, nine shots back of the second-round leader, Pettersen.
Wednesday’s first-round leader, 17-year-old Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn slipped back into a tie for seventh at 5-under-par after shooting a 3-over 75 on Thursday.
Conservatively aggressive? Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) is known for her competitive nature and she doesn’t shy away from trying to distance herself from the field. But on a day when scoring conditions were difficult as they were on Thursday, was Pettersen still play as aggressively as she would like to?
“Once you pick your shot, pick your club, it's go time,” Pettersen said. “I mean, playing away from the pin not so much, but playing smart. So when I had a short enough club in my hand I felt like I was aggressive enough. Just accepting that a game of perfect, it is not the day for that.
“So got up and down quite a few times. Feeling good with my putter. Yeah, just hanging in there today and just really trying not to get too comfortable. Just really tried to keep pushing and pressing. I'm pretty happy with a 69 today.”
The biggest key for Pettersen taking the second-round lead was her play on the back nine. Following a bogey on the 10th hole that brought her back to even-par for the day, Pettersen found a way to settle in and make three birdies down the stretch on No. 11, No. 13 and No. 16 which moved her one shot ahead of Ai Miyazato.
“It's one of my strengths,” Pettersen said of her play on the back nine. “I usually don't shy away when I get to the back nine. Feeling good, feeling sharp. I mean, par‑5s, I think it's tough throughout. Doesn't really matter what kind of shot you have. If you have a 90‑yard shot straight into the wind, into the grain, you're trying not spin it; you're trying to kind of flight it. You're going through the repertoire. It's like my caddie said before we tee'd up. It's going to be a war out there. And it was. We had sunshine, rainbow, rain. It was a great day.”
Topics: LPGA Lotte Championship