SAGSTROM SURGES TO SECOND-ROUND LEAD IN BOCA RATON
On Friday morning at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Madelene Sagstrom had the inaugural event’s gallery on a 59 watch. The Swede went out in 29 with seven birdies, and while a 59 was not in the cards, the 27-year-old added four birdies on the back nine to card a career-best 62 and take hold of the lead at -10.
Sagstrom holds a one-stroke advantage over Spaniard Carlota Ciganda heading into the weekend of the first full-field event of the 2020 LPGA Tour season.
“I kept making putts,” said Sagstrom, who made 23 putts on Friday. “And I was like, "Is this going to end, or am I going to just keep making putts?" Because I was hitting really good shots in the beginning. So me and Allen, my caddie for the week -- actually it's my father-in-law [boyfriend’s dad], which is really fun -- we were saying, ‘Well, just hit fairways, hit the greens, you're rolling the putter nice.’”
2019 Aon Risk Reward Challenge winner Ciganda birdied the Aon Risk Reward Challenge 16th hole on Friday, one of eight birdies on the day. Ciganda attributes her fast start to an offseason full of rest away from the golf course.
“[In] December I like to go back home,” Ciganda said of her offseason. “I was there for a month in Spain with my family, friends. I didn't even have my clubs with me, I just left them in Phoenix. I think it's good to just get a rest for the brain and to get ready for the season. It's a long year, that you want to rest.”
A trio of players, Americans Cydney Clanton and Jennifer Song and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, fired rounds of 8-under par on Friday to sit in a tie for third, two strokes off Sagstrom’s lead. 71 players made the cut at Boca Rio at +1.
CAREER DAY LAUNCHES JENNIFER SONG UP LEADERBOARD
After carding a bogey-free 8-under par 64 in the second round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, Jennifer Song said she was not aware of how good her score was. It just so happened to be a career-low performance from the 10-year LPGA Tour veteran.
Starting on No. 10 Friday morning, Song converted three birdies in her opening nine. She added three more on the front, as well as an eagle at the par-5 first hole. Song pointed out it was the stretch as she made the turn that proved to be the reason for her outstanding afternoon.
“My ninth hole was my second or third bunker shot of the day around the greens and I knew I was rolling it well, so made a 10-foot par putt,” said Song, who started the day tied for 27th and heads into the weekend in a tie for third. “When your day is going well, you just see your ball going in the hole. I took that momentum, carried it to my 10th hole and made an eagle. When I was on the fringe it was a break I really liked, a little right to left with a bit of downslope. I just knew I was going to drain it and once it found the bottom of the hole, I was like, ‘Yes!’ I kept it going from there.”
CLANTON USES BIRDIE STREAK TO REACH CAREER MARK
When Cydney Clanton made the turn Friday afternoon in the second round of the inaugural Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, she was both 3-under par for the day and overall. The Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational then turned on the jets.
Birdies on Nos. 1-5 propelled Clanton to her LPGA Tour career-low mark of 8-under par 64. A lot of that was credited to a hot putter and as Clanton recalled, could have been even lower.
“I’ve had six birdies in a row twice now and ended up hitting the flag on No. 6, it ricocheted off and I did not have a great birdie putt,” said Clanton, one of three players tied for third at 8-under overall. “And [my caddie] Randy was like, ‘Man, I wish you had made six so that we could try for seven.’ I made some long putts, a 45-footer and 31-footer. It was one of those things where it was your day and it was mine.”
“SOMETIMES GOLF HAPPENS” FOR JAYE MARIE GREEN
That is a focus Jaye Marie Green and her sports psychologist have been discussing recently while Green continues to work on her mental strength while playing. Green said that was one of the keys for a solid second round, as the Boca Raton native went bogey-free en route to a 66 at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
“I hit the ball the exact same way today, I just made putts today, putts went in,” said Green, who had 27 putts. “Yesterday I was having trouble reading the greens, but today I just kind of pictured it well. And a lot of them did, but I also left a lot out there.”
The hometown crowd was vocal; Green drained a par putt on No. 18 to claps and “Let’s go J.J.!” shouts from the gallery. She said it has only added to an already special week.
“It makes me emotional just talking about it. Just to have my closest friends, childhood friends--I mean, we go back from diapers out here,” said Green. “The course I grew up with is two miles down the street. And a lot of members from that club have helped me along the way, and they're out here. It's unbelievable. I really want to get myself close, in a position to make it more fun for them. And I know whether I close or not, they're going to love me. And I am glad to be in this position.”
Rolex Rankings No. 116 Madelene Sagstrom (72-62)
- She hit 14 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 23 putts
- Sagstrom is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she has six career top-10 finishes with a career-best runner-up finish at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship
- Member of the 2017 European Solheim Cup Team, posting a 1-2-0 record
- Member of Team Sweden at the 2018 UL International Crown, posting a 1-3-0 record
- Won the Symetra Tour’s 2016 Volvik Race for the Card to earn LPGA Tour Membership for the 2017 season
- Was the 2016 Symetra Tour Player of the Year and Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year with three wins and 12 top-10 finishes
- She is a 2015 graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in psychology
Rolex Rankings No. 16 Carlota Ciganda (69-66)
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Ciganda is in her ninth season on the LPGA Tour; she has two career wins (2016 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, 2016 Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational)
- In her career, Ciganda has recorded seven runner-up performances and 12 additional top-five finishes
- She is a four-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), with a 6-6-4 overall record
- She represented Spain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing T39
- She has four career wins on the Ladies European Tour
Rolex Rankings No. 202 Cydney Clanton (72-64)
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Clanton’s 64 is her career-low 18-hole score; her previous best was a 65, which she shot three times and most recently at the 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
- Clanton became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, alongside playing partner Jasmine Suwannapura
- She made seven starts on the Symetra Tour in 2019, which included her second career win and three additional top-10 finishes
- Clanton graduated from Auburn University in 2011 with a degree in Finance
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Nasa Hataoka (72-64)
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Hataoka fell to Gaby Lopez on the seventh playoff hole in a Monday finish at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions; her fifth career runner-up finish
- She is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she has three career victories, most recently at the 2019 Kia Classic
- Hataoka won the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Japan Women’s Open Championship; in 2016 she was the first amateur and the youngest champion to win a major on the JLPGA
- She has five total wins on the JLPGA, with four being major titles
Rolex Rankings No. 109 Jennifer Song (72-64)
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 24 putts
- Her second-round 64 is a career-best mark
- Song is in her 10th season on the LPGA Tour, with eight career top-10 finishes
- Her career-best finish was T2 at the 2018 ANA Inspiration where she lost in a three-way playoff
- Song has two career wins on the Symetra Tour
- She spent two years at USC where she was an NGCA First-Team All-American in 2009
- Five 2020 LPGA Tour rookies will be playing the weekend in their debuts as Members: Yui Kawamoto (-3), Albane Valenzuela (-1), Jillian Hollis (-1), Patty Tavatanakit (-1), Yealimi Noh (+1)
- Players seventh or better represent six different countries: Sweden, Spain, U.S., Japan, Republic of Korea, France