Piller Shakes Off Slow Start
Gerina Piller is putting on a show for the home crowd in Irving this week at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. Piller started on the back nine and played Las Colinas at even par through 11 holes before rifling off four birdies in her last seven holes. Piller currently sits at 4-under in a tie for second just one shot back of leader Mi Jung Hur. The Plano, TX resident noted that being close to home can make things difficult, with a lot of outside factors on her mind heading into Round 1 on Thursday.
“It’s a little tougher this week being a home game and having family in town and just staying at home, it’s hard to go home and go to bed,” said Piller. “You want to do the dishes or stuff like that. Definitely have to be more conscious with your time and how you prepare just like any other week because you’re at home and it’s kind of pulling you opposite directions.”
Piller will be looking to add to her recent string of success that includes four top-10 finishes in her last five starts and a spot, for the moment, on the United States roster for the UL International Crown in July.
“I mean, I know that I’m playing really well and I’ve had some really good finishes, so that’s golf, you’ve just kind of got to ride that and just keep pressing on.”
So Yeon Ryu Back Near The Top Of The Leaderboard
For the second straight week, So Yeon Ryu finds herself near the top of the leaderboard following an opening round 67 at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC.
“Today I shot 17 greens, and even when I missed I was still able to putt it, I was just off the green,” Ryu explained. “So I think today my shot was really great, I just comfortable with everything and like driver, iron, wood, everything was great. Even putting was really great. The only one disappointing thing is I missed a 5 foot birdie putt at the last. But I had a bogey free round today, so it was a really simple round.”
With the wind up in Irving, Ryu was able to card four birdies on the day to sit a mere shot back of M.J. Hur.
“I feel like today was kind of a little breezy, but after that happened in San Francisco, this is nothing, just baby wind,” Ryu said. “Even when I had like strong wind, I feel like really easy to control it and really easy to decide what I need to do. So I think it was really big help, really, really big help after having really, really windy day in San Francisco.”
VIDEO - Watch So Yeon Ryu Post Round Interview
Cheyenne Knight Leads Group Of Shootout Winners
Cheyenne Knight shot an opening round 70 at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC to lead the group of four amateurs who qualified through the Shootout.
“Unbelievable,” Knight said of her day. “Out there it felt like a dream, like it was surreal.”
Competing in her first LPGA round, Knight admitted to feeling a few first tee jitters.
“I wasn’t that nervous this morning, and yesterday I wasn’t nervous at all, but when I walked on the first tee I was shaking a little bit.”
The freshman at Alabama shook off the nerves and calmly made a birdie at the first.
“Definitely birdieing my first hole in my first LPGA event was a really cool experience,” Knight said. “On the first hole there were some nerves there, so kind of starting off like that was good.”
Knight added two more birdies, countered by a pair of bogeys to post her 70.
“I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself,” Knight said. “Of course my goal is to make the cut, but just like put a good number up there today and just kind of keep on enjoying the process of things, because I didn’t hit it great today but I really stayed in it and had fun, had a good attitude.”
Below is how all four shootout qualifiers fared on Thursday.
|Karah Sanford||73 (+2)||T68|
|Kristen Gillman||77 (+6)||T133|
|Cheyenne Knight||70 (-1)||T18|
|Maddie Szeryk||73 (+2)||T68|