Three weeks remain until the 2013 Solheim Cup but the leaderboard on Friday at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning & O-I had a decidedly European-American feel. Spaniard Beatriz Recari and Americans Paula Creamer and Alison Walshe are tied for the second-round lead at 8-under-par after shooting rounds of 65, 68 and 69 respectively in Friday’s second round at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Temperatures soared into the 90s for a second straight day in northwest Ohio but the heat didn’t feel nearly as oppressive during Friday’s second round thanks to winds that gusted up to 25 mph throughout the day. The wind also made for slightly more difficult scoring conditions, although that didn’t appear to bother Recari.
Recari’s 6-under 65 was the low round of the day and tied for the low round of the week. There were a few ups and downs for the 26-year-old in her round as she tallied six birdies, two bogeys and one eagle en route to taking a share of the second-round lead. But overall she seemed quite pleased with the results.
“My round was really, really good,” Recari said. “I started with a good par save on the 1st hole where I laid up. I was on the left in the rough and I had a tree blocking it, and I laid up short and good approach shots, and then a 15‑footer for par. So that was good mojo and good way to start with a positive feeling.”
Creamer followed up her impressive opening-round 66 with a 3-under 68 on Friday. While she wasn’t able to record quite as many birdies in Friday’s second round, Creamer was pleased with how she performed in what she described as a “different golf course.”
“It played a little bit harder out there today,” Creamer said. “You know, the breeze definitely was picking up. I know in the morning it was pretty dead yesterday. A little bit of breeze in the afternoon. But it was a different golf course today. It was getting a little bit firmer and some of the pin placements were a little tougher than they were yesterday, so a little bit harder to get close to the hole.”
Walshe, who was the first-round leader at 6-under-par, delivered her second straight round in the 60s. She finished up late in the afternoon when most of the second wave of players battled the worst of the windy conditions. The Westford, Mass. native sank a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to grab a share of the lead at 8-under par.
“It was obviously a nice way to finish,” said Walshe. “Any birdie, I'll take it. It's good. To do it on the last hole was nice to have a little momentum overnight and going into tomorrow. At the same time, ties me with the lead, so it was kind of important.”
The fourth-year LPGA Tour member is playing for her first-career victory but says she won’t get ahead of herself just yet. Walshe will try to keep the images of hoisting her first LPGA Tour trophy out of her mind until the end on Sunday.
“It's definitely another day away,” said Walshe. “I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat. You know, like tomorrow I can go out there and first hole, just the First Tee bail is what matters. Then on Sunday, if I'm in that position coming down the last through holes I'll think about it. I'm not going to think about it yet.”
Walshe also won’t be thinking about any Solheim Cup contention this week. While her co-leaders Creamer and Recari are expected to be on their respective teams for next month’s Solheim Cup, Walshe will have to wait at least two years until she’ll have an opportunity to earn the honor of wearing the red, white and blue at the event. Walshe was born in Ireland and moved to the U.S. when she was three. Under the current rules that disqualifies her from being eligible for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team but the rules are changing for the 2015 event.
Six American players who are currently ranked in the top-12 in U.S. Solheim Cup Team points are in good position to earn points this week with only two chances left on the schedule. U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain Meg Mallon arrived onsite at Highland Meadows on Friday to continue her scouting for her two captain’s picks.
During Saturday’s “Moving Day” all eyes will likely be on Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park. After coming up short in her bid to record a fourth straight LPGA victory last week at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada, Park has once again put herself in great position to capture win No. 7 of the season. Park fired a 2-under 69 on Friday and sits in a tie for fifth place at 6-under-par with 2013 LPGA Tour rookie Chie Arimura and No. 1 ranked amateur Lydia Ko.
Defending champion So Yeon Ryu has also kept herself in contention to deliver a second straight victory in Toledo. Rounds of 68 and 69 have put Ryu in a tie for eighth at 5-under-par with Lexi Thompson and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Topics: Marathon Classic