It is becoming a weekly habit. The name Patty Tavatanakit has not been hard to find on LPGA Tour leaderboards.
Since winning the 2021 ANA Inspiration, a career-defining moment, the UCLA star and California native has not let up and shows no signs of being satisfied. She’s notched three top-5 finishes after missing the cut at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open, and finished T26 at the difficult Olympic Club at the U.S. Women’s Open. Another good start in Daly City and Tavatanakit remains hungry and humble.
“As long as I have high finishes and try to play the best I can, to get the win is great but if not, top-10 and top five is always a good week,” said Tavatanakit, who fired a second-round 71 and is 3-under in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. “You walk off the course going home with the satisfaction of feeling like, ‘Okay, I had a good week. What's next?’
“I have been playing solidly and my name is always kind of up there. If anything is going to go wrong, it's not going to be as bad. It's just like you are playing well, whatever you do it's going to be okay, or if you do great it's going to be great. I just take it as that. I still need to work hard and try to be the best player I can be.”
After closing out the first round with an eagle on the par-5 18th, Tavatanakit started bogey-bogey on Friday. She managed five birdies the rest of the way to find red numbers despite stumbling out of the gates. Tavatanakit’s mindset is one she will carry into the weekend to keep her in contention, as it did on more than that one occasion at Mission Hills Country Club earlier this year.
“I was really calm out there. I didn't feel too insecure,” said Tavatanakit, who has four top-15 finishes in eight starts so far this season. “Kind of was an acceptance that I'm not hitting it my best right now because I'm physically tired. I don't know where my swing is at. A whole lot going on. Just trying to score the best I can, and that basically has been my goal for the past two days. Just try to score, get up and down here and there and occasionally I'll hit one close and I'll be able to move up a couple of shots.”
CHARLEY HULL LOVING THE CHALLENGE OF LAKE MERCED GOLF CLUB
Since 2018, Lake Merced Golf Club has showed its teeth when the LPGA Tour visits Daly City, a deterrent for lovers of low scores. At the last two LPGA MEDIHEAL Championships, the total scoring average for the event has never dipped below 73; in 2019, it was 73.501 and 73.280 in 2018. But for Charley Hull, the challenge never disappoints. She is one of the players who entered this week with one of the lowest scoring averages in her past two appearances at the MEDIHEAL Championship despite not winning.
In 2019, Hull’s average was 70.75 when she finished in a tie for fourth, and exactly 70 in her 2018 third-place result. She continued to show her comfortability playing Lake Merced with a bogey-free 68, starting the day T50 and ultimately finishing Friday in a tie for ninth at -3. “I played pretty well. I didn't actually make any birdies on any of the par-5s. I think the longest birdie putt I holed was like six feet. I was hitting it quite close. Could have been lower today,” said Hull. “I feel like I am playing solid and I'm looking forward to the weekend.”
Hull said she enjoys coming back to play Merced, especially when she’s feeling confident in her game. “It's a good ball striker's golf course. You got to be good with your long irons, so I enjoy that and I like hitting my irons in,” said Hull. “I'm not a super fan of when we go super low, so I like the challenge. It keeps me interested. Otherwise, I get bored on the golf course.”