Seventeen year-old Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn shot even-par 71 in the second round of the Kingsmill Championship to maintain sole possession of the lead and heads into the weekend at 7-under par. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 18 Angela Stanford trail the teenager by one stroke and are tied for second at 6-under par.
Jutanugarn got off to a rough start on Friday, dropping shots on three of her first eight holes and made the turn at No. 18 at 3-over for the day. She blamed her flat stick for her early troubles and said all three bogeys on Nos. 10, 16, 17 came on missed short putts within five feet.
“So it just like have to keep like my putting, you know, everything's like I hit my irons like very good, my driver is like perfect, so I just want to try to fix my putting,” said Jutanugarn. “So after the front nine, my putting's get better but I still miss a lot of short putt.”
She gained her composure for her back nine and got her first birdie on the par 5 3rd hole. She went on to drain a 45-foot birdie putt on the par 3 5th hole and moved back to even par for the day with her final birdie on No. 7. The youngster, who her competitors have described as fearless, showed no signs of intimidation and said when she looked at the leaderboard, she did a good job of paying attention to herself.
“You know, when I first start on the front nine, I saw the leader, so it's okay, I just want to keep my game,” said Jutanugarn. “And right now for me everybody still have chance to win, so I just do my best my last two day.”
Lewis and Stanford sit one shot back and are within striking distance with two rounds to play. The American duo have mirrored each other this week, both shooting first and second round 68’s and both players carding four birdies and one bogey each in Friday’s second round.
“You know, I played pretty much the same,” said Lewis. “I think I hit it a little better today, which you needed to do because it was so windy, but I gave myself a lot of birdie chances, which was nice. Definitely would have liked to have made a few more putts, but I think I'm in a really good spot going into the weekend. The wind's not dying down out there so it's going to be tough this afternoon.”
Stanford, who has made the cut for her ninth consecutive time at Kingsmilll this week, said she was content with her similar back to back days.
“Overall it seems like it was Groundhog Day,” said Stanford. “I hit 14 greens again and had 29 putts again and got up and down every time again, so kind of interesting that they seem like carbon copies of each other. One was a 3‑putt, yesterday I had one 3‑putt, so it's really weird.”
Three players are in a tie for fourth after two rounds at 5-under par including two former Kingsmill Championship winners Cristie Kerr (2005, 2009), Suzann Pettersen (2007) and 2011 Kia Classic champ Sandra Gal.
A dangerous group of six players crowd the star-studded leaderboard at 4-under par including World Golf & LPGA Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster, 2012 Rolex Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu and nine-time LPGA Tour winner Ai Miyazato.
Topics: Kingsmill Championship