CROSS-COUNTRY PUTT AT 18 FOR LINDBERG
It’s not too often that you see triple digits on distance for a birdie putt. But that’s exactly what Pernilla Lindberg had at No. 18, where she drained a 100-footer for her third consecutive birdie and a tie for fourth going into the third round of the CME Group Tour Championship.
“I was playing for of the middle of the green and just missed my second shot a little bit to the right, so I had to putt all across the whole green,” said Lindberg, whose second-round 67 is the best round of her six career starts at Tiburon Golf Club. “I had a flashback from that pin from last year. I remember it’s not as quick as it looks toward the end, so this year I hit it a little bit harder than I remember doing before and it trickled right into the hole.”
That putt raised a massive cheer from the gallery, and caused Lindberg to thrust her fist in the air in triumph. She has never finished better than 42nd at this season-ending event, making that putt an exclamation point on a day that could lead to her best-ever week in Naples.
“To be honest, I haven’t really figured this course out the last few years, but I feel like going into to this year I am just striking it pretty good,” said the 31-year-old Swede. “I’ve been hitting it good off the tee for the last few weeks. That’s really what is setting me up for not really making any mistakes out there.”
PETTERSEN SURVIVES THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE GAME
For Friday’s first nine holes, it looked like vintage Suzann Pettersen making her way around Tiburon Golf Club. The 14-year LPGA veteran from Norway made three birdies and an eagle on her opening nine to make the turn at 5-under 31 and within one stroke of leader Sung Hyun Park.
But from there, it all fell apart for Pettersen. Bogeys at 13 and 14, followed by a double bogey at 15, sent her plummeting down the leaderboard. She was able to salvage the round with a birdie at No. 18 and was at least able to walk off the golf course with a smile.
“Obviously nice to finish with a birdie, but just three really bad drives that puts me completely out of position. I got screwed on one shot after another,” said Pettersen, a 15-time LPGA Tour winner. “Not the best back nine, but still only halfway there. It was nice to go out this morning and kind of play good, be aggressive, and kind of see shots being executed the way you imagine them.”
As she freely admits, it was not a memorable year for Pettersen, who was sidelined midseason with a back injury that caused her to withdraw from the European Solheim Cup Team. But anyone who has followed Pettersen’s career knows one fact clearly – never count her out.
“To finish off on a good note would make Christmas taste maybe a little bit sweeter,” said Pettersen. “I’m going to keep working hard and keep kind of grinding. I know if I do the right stuff it’s going to pay off. I already proved that to myself a million times before.”
QUOTABLE FROM THE RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
“I hit a few really erratic shots in the beginning. It wasn’t a good start to the round. Just tried to stay positive and find something that could work for the last 14, 15 holes. My caddie, Kevin, help me with that.”
Lexi Thompson, tied for 12th at 6-under 138
“To be honest, I don’t feel quite as nervous as I thought I would. After the first shot, after the first hole, I felt a lot more comfortable. I’m not feeling as nervous as I thought I might be going into today.”
Sung Hyun Park, in the lead at 12-under 132
“I just didn’t putt very well again, although I hit some good putts, some that hit the lip and some that just didn’t go in. My shoulder felt good. I was a little concerned about it on the first nine and maybe a little worried that it might hurt again but by the back nine I didn’t worry because it didn’t hurt at all. So, much better.”
So Yeon Ryu, tied for 39th at 1-under 143
“Just really couldn’t get anything going. I bogeyed the second hole again, same as yesterday. That kind of killed the momentum a little bit. I feel like I was struggling to get it back. I was 3-up on the back nine; birdied 10. I had a great crowd out there supporting me, a lot of Canadians, which is really cool. I feel like after the birdie on 10 I found some more energy and tried to dig down deep. You know, 17, 18 to finish birdie, birdie is really nice. Before that I was a little bit down and now I’m back in good spirits.”
Brooke Henderson, tied for 25th at 4-under 140
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE STANDINGS
The top 12 players in the Race to the CME Globe standings heading into this week’s CME Group Tour Championship are eligible to win the $1 million bonus. Through two rounds, Sung Hyun Park sits in first place, ahead of Lexi Thompson. Spots three through nine are unchanged from the pre-tournament standings.
|Sung Hyun Park||2nd||1st|
|So Yeon Ryu||4th||4th|
|In Gee Chun||6th||6th|
ROLEX PLAYER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS
Sung Hyun Park leads the CME Group Tour Championship through 36 holes, and thus is in control heading into the weekend. So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Lexi Thompson all sit outside the top 10 (Ryu – T39; Feng – T39; Thompson – T12).
|Player||Current Points||Projected Points|
|So Yeon Ryu||162||162|
|Sung Hyun Park||157||187|
VARE TROPHY STANDINGS
After the second round, Lexi Thompson remains in the lead with the lowest scoring average ahead of Sung Hyun Park, but the difference is now only 0.038 due to Park recording another sub-68 round. Park is currently ahead of Thompson by six strokes in the tournament standings, and needs to be nine to 10 strokes better than Thompson (10 strokes better if Thompson reaches 10-under par or more) to win the Vare Trophy on Sunday.
|Player||Entering This Week||After First Round||After Second Round||Difference|
|Sung Hyun Park||69.259||69.232||69.181||0.038|
|In Gee Chun||69.269||69.316||69.35||0.207|