DAYTONA BEACH, FLA, December 1, 2016 - Two-time Solheim Cup member Mel Reid (Loughborough, England) and 17-year-old rising star Nasa Hataoka (Ibaraki, Japan) share the 36-hole lead at LPGA Qualifying School sitting at 11-under, 133, following the first two rounds in Daytona Beach.
Conditions were calm on Thursday and that was reflected in the scoring as a total of 62 players finished under-par in round two compared to 37 in round one.
“I really have played much better than I expected,” Hataoka, who won a JLPGA major in October, admitted. “I’ve been putting very good and am really happy about it.”
Hataoka carded a 7-under 65 on the Hills Course while Reid posted the round of the week thus far with an 8-under 64 on the Jones Course on Friday.
“64 is always nice,” Reid said with a smile. “I thought I could’ve gone deep out there today. I feel like I missed two or three other chances easily. With the winds and stuff I was pretty happy. All in all I hit most of the shots that me and Benji discussed and I feel like my swing is in a good place.”
While Reid is happy to be tied for the lead, she knows she has more to accomplish this week.
“You can’t let off the gas in this,” Reid said. “I’m 11-under after two rounds but I’m not letting my foot off the gas. I’ve got a number in mind and I’m trying to get to that number if not past it. All-in-all I’m very happy with how I’m swinging it and how things are going.”
Helping the cause for Reid has been a laid back approach off the course.
“I tried to make this week as relaxed as possible,” Reid explained. “I know it’s a tough week and that it’s a bit of a slog but you just need to have a good environment around you. I’m staying at one of my friend’s place in New Smyrna which is awesome and we just go to the beach at night to try and make it as relaxed as possible.”
The duo holds a three shot cushion over Jaye Marie Green (Boca Raton, Florida), who sits in third place at 8-under par. Latvian Krista Puisite and South Carolina senior Katelyn Dambaugh (a) share fourth at 6-under, 138.
Round three will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the leaders teeing off at 10:12 Hills and 10:23 on Jones.
ICELAND’S KRISTINSDOTTIR CLIMBS LEADERBOARD
Olafia Kristinsdottir (Reykjavik, Iceland) shot a second round 66 on the Jones Course to climb up the leaderboard from T72 to a tie for tenth.
“It was a great round,” Kristinsdottir said. “I hit it really close. Putted really well. It was just simple golf.”
Over the past few days Kristinsdottir has been followed by a group of between 10-15 Icelanders.
“Those are all just golfers from Iceland on vacation in Florida who decided to come out,” Kristindottir said of her cheering section. “I didn’t know any of them, just my mom. I got to know them yesterday. Hopefully more will come out. It’s really fun to have somebody to watch.”
The Wake Forest grad put on a show for the crowd on Thursday making five birdies against a lone bogey during her day.
“It’s really special and good for golf in Iceland,” Kristindottir said. “It’s really exciting.”
TANG LIVED ON HOLE FIVE AT LPGA INTERNATIONAL FOR THREE YEARS
Jessy Tang (Orlando, Fla.) is more familiar with the courses this week than almost all of the field as her family owned a house in LPGA International from 2009-2012.
“I lived on number five on Jones,” Tang said. “We had the house for three years but between travel and competing in tournaments I probably lived in the house six months in three years so not a lot of time.”
Tang used that local knowledge to her advantage today as she fired a 4-under on the Hills course to move from T52 to T12.
“I feel good about everything,” Tang said. “Putting could have been a little bit better but I hit it so close today. Luckily I was hitting them inside 10-feet so I was able to make a lot of birdies.”
LATVIAN PUISITE WORKING WITH SEAN HOGAN AND IN HUNT
Krista Puisite (Riga, Latvia) posted her second straight 69, this time on the Hills course to move to a tie for fourth at 6-under, 138.
Puisite, who has her sister, Mara, on the bag and her college coach, Mike Akers, watching says that the main key has been keeping calm.
“I’m trying not to stress out about anything because Q-School is so stressful and everyone is freaking out so I feel like the best thing I can do is not freak out,” explained Puisite. “It’s all about getting to the LPGA and staying there so when my game is ready, I’ll get there. If I’m not ready, I won’t get there.”
Puisite has balanced rest, fun and practice since the last Symetra Tour event in late October.
“I took some time off and then I got sick for a week,” said Puisite. “Then, I went to Vegas with the girls including Portland (Rosen), which was awesome because it took my mind off golf. I’ve been practicing a lot since then and I played the Suncoast event last weekend. ”
Puisite has been working out with her trainer at Better Every Day in Orlando and working with famed teacher Sean Hogan at Leadbetter Academy.
“I feel like they are a good team and I feel like I have prepared well,” said Puisite. “I feel like I’ve done everything to prepare I can and it would be a dream come true to make the LPGA.”
- 2013-14 ACC Rookie of the Year at Duke, Yu Liu, posted a 5-under, 67 on the Jones course to move from T38 to T6.
- There are four amateurs in the current top 20 (Katelyn Dambaugh, Regan De Guzman, Karen Chung and Daniela Darquea.
- Bronte Law, No. 2 ranked amateur in the world, posted a 4-under, 68 on the Jones course to move from T92 to T27.
- There are five teenagers T12 or better after two days (Nasa Hataoka, Angel Yun, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras, Min-G Kim and Ssu Chia Cheng).
- Nine different countries are represented in the top-12 on the leaderboard after the first two rounds.
- Israel’s Laetitia Beck posted a 6-under, 66 on the Jones course to move from T111 to T18 at 2-under, 142.