FLAWLESS DAY TWO LAUNCHES KIM
A bogey-free, 5-under par 66 performance by Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California) in the second round of LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina moved the Stanford University alumna into the outright lead by one at 8-under overall. It included a chip-in to end the day on No. 9.
“Opened it up and hoped that the Bermuda grass didn't get it,” Kim said laughingly. “I was trying to land it 11 yards onto the front edge of the green, so it was probably a 15-yard shot, something like that with a 58-degree wedge. Yesterday, I missed two greens and both were in bunkers. My caddie and I were just joking around that I actually had to chip today because in California we don’t have Bermuda.”
Last year, Kim went tied for 23rd in the inaugural Q-Series to earn Priority List Category 14 status for the 2019 LPGA Tour season. She also collected her first professional title at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. Now, Kim leads the 98-player field at Pinehurst Resort in large part to her short game.
“Kind of just stayed patient and was 2-under at the turn,” said Kim. “Made a few pars, but missed a few opportunities actually. It is kind of amazing when you have a 5-under round and feel like you left some out there. I was out on the green yesterday afternoon practicing in the rough and it worked to chip well today. Hopefully can continue tomorrow.”
KAUFMAN REBOUNDS AFTER TOUGH START
Over her first four holes this afternoon, 18-hole leader Kim Kaufman (Clark, South Dakota) was 2-over par courtesy of bogeys at Nos. 10 and 13. However, the Texas Tech University graduate went bogey-free the rest of the way to sign a 1-under par 70 scorecard.
“A little shaky to start and don't know what was going on, but then settled in,” said Kaufman, who trails Kim by one at 7-under overall. “Made a nice birdie on the reachable par-5 [15th] to kind of feel like I was yesterday, get back to normal. Just didn't quite make as many putts. It's nice to finish in red numbers.”
During the gauntlet that is Q-Series, one is more than likely to experience a run of shots that don’t meet her standards. Perhaps even an entire round, or two. How Kaufman battled in the second round showed her that when she does meet those moment(s), she can do so head-on and without fear.
“Out here for eight rounds, it either gets easier or can get harder,” Kaufman said. “I’m sure that I’ll make bogey on No. 10 tomorrow again, it’s not my favorite hole. But it's okay because there is plenty of time to bounce back is what I told myself. I was really happy to do that and feeling a little like my old self.”
WEAVER FINDING GROOVE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Following back-to-back rounds of 3-under par 68, Lindsey Weaver (Bellefontaine, Ohio) is one of two at 6-under par overall and just two strokes off the lead. She found the number today by way of five birdies and two bogeys.
The 2017 Epson Tour graduate played in eight tournaments on the LPGA Tour in 2018 before taking a medical leave of absence the rest of the year due to tendinitis in her left arm. Weaver then returned at ISPS Handa Vic Open in February to begin her 2019 campaign. Across 19 starts, the University of Arizona alumna advanced to the weekend six times.
“The thing I'm concentrating on most is my attitude,” Weaver said. “It is a marathon, so try not get too high or too low and stay even keel. That's something I've really been working on and trying to do leading up to this week as well. I knew that was going to have to be key. I think the course plays different every day and all depends on weather. If I can just keep doing what I'm doing, I think it'll be good.”
Elizabeth Nagel (-6, T3) on her mentality for Q-Series:
“I have good thoughts swing-wise, on the greens, putting-wise. For me, staying patient and knowing that I'm not going to hit every shot perfect, always keeping thoughts fresh. Like after the round, even though I hit it great today I am still going to hit a couple balls and make sure I have my thoughts together.”
Jiwon Jeon (-4, T6) on the setup of Pinehurst No. 6 and how to attack it:
“I think the fairways on some holes are pretty tight, so you have to find a good landing spot and greens can be very tricky here. Also have to find a good landing spot then need to have a good strategy to avoid the long putts. There is a lot of slopes on the greens and false fronts, so must have good distance to the pin, too.”
Yealimi Noh (-4, T6) on her draw and the opportunity that Q-Series presents:
“I think I was really lucky with the tee times, playing pretty late and the last tee time [of the wave] both days. Yesterday, playing in sunny weather from the start was nice and today I heard it was pretty cold in the morning, too. So playing in the afternoon, nice weather, really grateful for that. Being here, I mean, the field is pretty small and just scrolling through scores I don't have to scroll like last week with so much scrolling. It's nice to be here, the course is in good condition and I'm playing pretty solid.”
Hee Young Park (-4, T6) comparing the level of Q-School from when she first competed in 2007:
“When I played Q-School the first time almost 12 years ago, it was a lot easier. The stages were less and still a strong field but wasn't that strong like the young girls playing on Tour and Q-Series today. Now the golf is getting stronger and the Tour is really solid. I expected that sometime I would have to go through something like Q-Series. It used to be just practicing golf most of the time, but now I have to be training, working on mental game and course management. I have to focus on it instead of just practice.”
- Kim, 25, is a native of Los Altos, California
- Led Stanford University to the program’s first NCAA Division I Women’s Golf National Championship title in 2015
- Named the 2016 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the sport of women’s golf as a senior
- Three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) First Team All-American for the Cardinal and two-time All-Pac 12 First Team selection
- Finished T29 at the Final Stage of the 2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for the 2017 LPGA Tour season
- Rookie on both Epson Tour and LPGA Tour in 2017 where she made 20 and two starts, respectively
- Finished T45 at the Final Stage of the 2017 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for the 2018 LPGA Tour season
- Competed in 14 LPGA Tour events during 2018 season with a best result of T17 at the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by Acer
- Made the cut in all seven Epson Tour starts last year and became a first-time winner at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic
- Finished T23 at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series to earn Priority List Category 14 status for the 2019 LPGA Tour season