Although not the start she was looking for, it was certainly a solid finish for Georgia Hall.
Hall opened Saturday at the Cambia Portland Classic with a bogey on the par-4 1st. She bounced back with birdies on No’s 5 and 6 and on No’s 16 and 17 to end with a 3-under-par 69.
“You know, 16 and 17 are tough holes, especially with both pin positions, so I was very happy to hole some putts that I didn't really hole much today,” she said.
“I didn't start amazing, but the pin positions were probably the toughest the week so far, so 3-under today, and… the wind got up a bit, so yeah, I'm happy with that… and I've got a two-shot lead. There’s still a lot of golf to play, but looking forward to tomorrow.”
She goes into Sunday with a two-shot lead over Minjee Lee. Lee and Hall have separated themselves from the pack as Marina Alex, who is in third alone, is six shots back of the Englishwoman.
“It's fun. I treat it a bit like match play, which I love, and I had that similar at the British. But I just think it's a lot more exciting, and I'm really excited for me, as well, so I look forward to it,” said Hall. “I'm sure Minjee is looking forward to it, as well.”
Hall captured the RICOH Women’s British Open in July before taking most of August off. She returned to action last week at the CP Women’s Open, where she finished tied for 28th.
“I definitely putted yesterday like I did at the British. Hopefully I'll putt like that tomorrow, as well. But I still kind of feel the same, and I'm just looking forward to playing another round of 18 holes,” she said.
This is Hall’s first-ever trip to the Cambia Portland Classic, and so far, so good.
A rookie on the LPGA Tour this year, Hall was first on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit in 2017 before finishing tied for seventh at the LPGA Tour Final Qualifying Tournament a year ago.
Hall was a member of Team Europe at the 2017 Solheim Cup, finishing with a 2-3-0 record, and will represent England at the 2018 UL International Crown.
Hall is second in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings, 388 points behind Jin Young Ko – who won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February and has 10 top-10 finishes this year. She’s not in the field this week in Portland and if Hall was to win, she would net 150 points in the Rookie of the Year race and put a dent in Ko’s large lead.