Delacour fires tournament-record score
Although it won’t go down in the official annals of the Manulife LPGA Classic because of lift, clean, and place rules being in effect this week, nothing can take away from Perrine Delacour’s 10-under-par 62 Friday.
The sizzling effort featured four birdies on the front nine and six on the back nine after hitting all 18 greens in regulation.
Delacour was only 1-under after the first round, but her 11-under par total through two rounds has her just one shot back of the lead held by Hyo Joo Kim.
“Yesterday I hit 17 greens and I just couldn’t make any putts. Then, today, I had really good putting. I spent 20 minutes yesterday on the putting green and I fixed it,” she explained of the secret to her success in the second round.
Although Delacour said she didn’t look at the score at all until when she finished, she felt good about her round, as it was ongoing.
The native of France was leading the Kingsmill Championship two years ago, so she is not a stranger to being close to the lead. Although it’s been a while since she’s felt these nerves, she’s not going to be doing too much out of her routine overnight.
“I’m just going to rest,” she said. “I am going to do a bit of putting and maybe hit a couple balls but I’m just going to rest.”
Cheyenne Woods, Cristie Kerr and P.K. Kongkraphan shot the official course record in 2015 at a 9-under-par 63.
Duncan flirts with 59
Through 13 holes, it looked like Lindy Duncan might have a chance to get to golf’s magic number, threatening a 13-under-par 59.
Duncan was 10-under after birding No.13, but things were derailed after she went 3-over for her last two holes. She shot a 7-under-par 29 on her first nine holes of the day, a feat she had never achieved in her career.
She said she was aware of how low she was going, but she tried not to let that play into her psyche too much.
“When I got to double-digits I was like, ‘this is pretty awesome.’ I made a few birdies early on the back (nine), which I don’t know what that got me to. I just kept rolling with it. I wasn’t too concerned with it,” she said.
Duncan explained the key to her great play was having good lines into the hole, and judging the wind correctly, which had a tendency of popping up unpredictably.
And as far as her plan for Saturday?
“The same exact thing,” she said with a smile. “One shot at a time, pick good lines with my caddy, and that’s it.”
Duncan is just one shot back of the leading going into the weekend.
Henderson bounces back
Although Brooke Henderson didn’t find any magic with the putter Friday – she took 32 putts to go along with 31 on Thursday – she made up for it in a big way with her ball-striking and driving.
Averaging nearly 300 yards off the tee Friday, hitting 11 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens gave the native of Smiths Falls, Ontario plenty of chances for birdies – and she converted better today, as her 5-under-par 67 has her at 6-under for the championship.
“That was the day that I needed,” said Henderson. “To get it early in the round… I was, I guess, 5-under through 12 holes so I knew I could make a few more birdies hopefully, or just par in and have a great round. It was really exciting.”
Henderson said the key difference from Thursday’s 1-under round to today’s 5-under effort was that she hit her irons a little closer, giving her better opportunities to make putts.
Although Henderson struggled Thursday, she said it was just part of her learning curve as a second-year LPGA Tour member and continues to work on her attitude after a hard round.
“I still take them pretty though sometimes, but coming back with a day like today is really important, and teaches me that it’s only one round… the cut is two rounds, and the tournament is four rounds. It’s not the end of the world when you make a mistake on the first day.”
Other than Henderson, Alena Sharp – who is tied for the lead with Lexi Thompson – and Brittany Marchand (who plays on the Epson Tour) were the other Canadians to make the cut.
Lexi Thompson relishing the competition
Last week was an off-week for Lexi Thompson, but she admitted Friday she couldn’t wait to get back to competition.
“I always enjoy my time off. Get to spend time with my family and train a good bit and get ready for the next tournament. But yeah, I'm always so competitive. I always want to play,” said Thompson.
She’s showing that she is rested and ready through two rounds at the Manulife LPGA Classic, as she sits tied for the lead with Canadian Alena Sharp and Hyo Joo Kim.
“Overall I’m just having fun on the golf course, staying very relaxed, and focusing on doing my routine,” Thompson said of her success so far. “I played some great golf, so hopefully continue into the weekend.”
Thompson, who is looking to become the LPGA Tour’s first two-time winner in 2017, said although Whistle Bear doesn’t fit her eye as well as some other courses on Tour, she’s making the most of it.
“I don't hit to many drivers; it's more hybrids, 3-woods. But if you hit it on the green - and the greens are rolling so well – you can make putts,” she said. “It's a ball-striking golf course, but all depends on the wind if it picks up.”