AMERICANS AT THE TOP
Four American players are within two shots of the lead at T7 or better after Round 2.
Michelle Wie and Vicky Hurst are one-back from the leaders at 12-under. Through two rounds, Wie has shot 11-under on the front 9, while the back 9 has held her back from the lead with three bogeys through two days. Hurst finished her bogey-free round with birdies on 17 and 18.
The sister duo of Jessica (-11) and Nelly Korda (-8) remain in the hunt in their second event playing alongside each other this year.
RECORD-BREAKING CUT LINE
74 players were 5-under par or better through two rounds, marking the lowest cut line in LPGA Tour history which bested the previous low of 4-under par at the 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic. Last year’s Founders Cup tied the second-lowest cut in LPGA history at the time.
Low 36-hole cuts (LPGA history):
- 139 (-5), 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Phoenix, Arizona, 74 players, par 72
- 140 (-4), 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, 70 players, par 72
- 141 (-3), 1997 State Farm Rail Classic, Springfield, Ill., 70 players, par 72
- 141 (-3), 1998 State Farm Rail Classic, Springfield, Ill., 82 players, par 72
- 137 (-3), 2003 Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, Tucson, Ariz., 79 players, par 70
- 141 (-3), 2005 Wendy’s Championship for Children, Dublin, Ohio, 72 players, par 72
- 141 (-3), 2008 LPGA State Farm Classic, Springfield, Ill., 73 players, par 72
- 141 (-3), 2009 LPGA Corning Classic, Corning, N.Y., 74 players, par 72
- 141 (-3), 2016 JTBC Founders Cup, Phoenix, Ariz., 74 players, par 72
Notable players to miss the cut include Lexi Thompson (-4), Cristie Kerr (-4), Cheyenne Woods (-3), Suzann Pettersen (-3) and Minjee Lee (-3).
World No. 1 Lydia Ko sits six back of the lead at 7-under par. Monday qualifier Kaylin Yost (-6) made it to the weekend in her first career LPGA start. Amateur sponsor invite Hannah O’Sullivan missed the cut at 2-over par.
Co-leader Ariya Jutanugarn’s pre-shot routine involves smiling, a suggestion from her mental coaches at Vision 54 to keep her calm and focused, Jutanugarn played a bogey-free round today while Pia Nilsson and Lynn Mariott were in attendance cheering her on.
“It means a lot,” Jutanugarn said. “They been help me for like one year. Like one year anniversary this year this tournament. They help me a lot like to keep me more positive and I learn what I have to do on the course.”
Since utilizing the Vision 54 team, Jutanugarn has won five tournaments, became the first player (male or female) from Thailand to win a major championship and earned Rolex Player of the Year while also winning last year’s Race to the CME Globe.
Ha Na Jang and Mi Hyang Lee may each have found a new favorite holiday in St. Patrick’s Day.
Jang, whose nicknames include “Lucky” and “Clover Girl” had a hole-in-one using a nine iron on the 140-yard 17th hole at Wildfire Golf Club on Friday. For the feat, Jang finds the Pot-o-Kia – winning a 2017 Kia Cadenza SXL.
“Oh, my goodness. I’m so happy, more than happy,” Jang said after her round. “And I have a car. Oh, my God, that one is mine. I’m so happy.”
Jang is the second LPGA player to hit a hole-in-one this season, after Brittany Lincicome hit one in Rd. 2 on her way to a win at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Two of Lee’s best career rounds have come on St. Patty’s. In 2016, she fired her lowest career round and set a new tournament course record with an opening round 10-under 62. Her 65 in Friday’s second round matches the third best score of her career (second time shooting 65).
In six appearances, Stacy Lewis has never finished outside of the top-30 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, with a win in 2013 and four top-10 finishes.
Stacy Lewis added the TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy putter to her bag during the offseason which is used by the likes of Jason Day and Dustin Johnson.
Stacy Lewis, an 11-time LPGA winner, is looking for her first win since the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship - she has 11 runner-up finishes since her last victory.
Ariya Jutanugarn’s lowest career tournament score to par is 23-under at the 2016 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, the site of her most recent and fifth career LPGA title.
Ariya Jutanugarn has five wins in her last 22 LPGA starts heading into this week.
Through two rounds Michelle Wie is 11-under on the front 9 (Palmer Course) while Stacy Lewis is -10 on the front 9 at the Wildfire Golf Club.
Ha Na Jang’s last hole-in-one made headlines as she became the first player in LPGA Tour history to score an ace on a par-4, which she did on the 8th hole at the 2016 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic - she went on to finish T11.
Two-time LPGA winner Mi Jung Hur, the 2016 Bank of Hope Founders Cup runner-up, turned in a bogey-free scorecard for the second straight day to sit one-back from the lead.
Jeong Eun Lee used a stretch of four consecutive birdies (holes 14-17) to card a career-low round of 64 - in 13 career LPGA starts she has one top-10 finish (2006 Mizuno Classic).
Players currently T7 or better on the leaderboard have combined for 47 LPGA wins, while Jeong Eun Lee, Karine Icher and Sung Hyun Park are the only players T7 or better without a tournament victory.
“Feels like home to me. It’s nice being in this position again.”
- Michelle Wie when asked if she’s comfortable being in contention again
“It was a little bit different for me. I really enjoyed it. It was really fun to see how excited the people are.”
- Iceland LPGA rookie Olafia Kristinsdottir who made in her first start in an LPGA event in the United States this week