The long-haul that is LPGA Q-Series is a quarter of the way finished, with 36 holes complete at Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. A three-way first-round lead has diminished to two. Ladies European Tour member Manon De Roey and Epson Tour member Riley Rennell lead the way at 10-under.
De Roey signed for a second-round 3-under to keep her name at the top of the leaderboard. The Belgian carded four birdies and a lone bogey on the day.
“It feels pretty good [to still be at the top],” said De Roey. “My game has been pretty solid over the last two days. I've been hitting good shots, making some good putts.”
While making it through the second round usually feels like a relief, the women competing for LPGA Tour cards still have six rounds left to play. De Roey reminds herself to stay calm and accept the inevitable mistakes.
“There’s a lot of golf left,” said De Roey. “So I just have to stay patient. People are going to make mistakes, but I know I can make a lot of birdies as well out here.”
Rennell joined De Roey in the spotlight after firing off another 5-under round. The Tennessee native carded seven birdies on the day and is happy to see her game flourish after qualifying through Stage II.
“I’m pleased with myself, and I’m honored to be here,” said Rennell. “I worked really hard on my game and worked really hard to get through Stage II, so it’s a big deal just to be here. I was going into this week and just freewheeling, so I feel really good about my game right now.”
The 24-year-old keeps an open mind when approaching the golf course each day and adjusts her post-round activities based on what she needs to be ready for the following day.
“Day by day, everything is different,” said Rennell. “Body is different, mind is different. But you just kind of have to try and get yourself back into that good space where you can perform. So I just kind of see what I need for the day, and maybe if I need a little bit more doggy snuggles, I go and kiss my dog a little bit more.”
Two strokes behind the leading duo, tied for third at 8-under, are Maddie Szeryk and Lauren Hartlage. Szeryk went bogey free on the Crossings Course, while Hartlage carded three birdies and bogey on the Falls Course.
Szeryk fired off an 8-under second-round, making her even-par first-round look like a warmup. Like most competing this week, the Canadian actively works on reminding herself how much golf is being played.
“I think it's a hard balance,” said Szeryk. “It's a weird mix with it being so many rounds. It's like, okay, one bad hole in the long scene isn't going to kill me. I’m just focusing on the so many good things that can come and just trying to have a quick turnaround and not be so angry. I think that's what I did well today, I felt confident going in and you just have to leave it all out there.”
Harltage credits her ball-striking so far this week for her low scores. After two under-par rounds to start the week, her plan is to take things day by day, shot by shot, and focus on only what she can control.
“I felt like I played well today,” said Hartlage. “My ball striking has been really good, giving myself a lot of good birdie chances, so that's kind of nice out here. Giving yourself birdie looks I think is really important.”
Sitting in solo fifth place was Samantha Wagner, who also went bogey-free on the Crossings Course. The University of Florida alumna carded three birdies and an unexpected eagle on the day.
A total of 74 players played the first 36-holes at even-par or better, setting a high standard for the projected cutline (E).
Magdalena Simmermacher (-4, T18) on a bogey-free, -8 second round to jump from T94 to T14:
“It felt so good. It maybe looks so easy, but I just made a lot of putts and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities, which I didn't do that much yesterday. I’m happy about it.”
Samantha Wagner (-7, 5th) on an eagle on No. 16:
“So I didn’t think I would be able to get it home today because it was into wind, but I hit a really good drive and got up there. I had like 220 [yards] to the pin or something like that. It’s preferred lies, so I gave myself a good lie and hit a 3-wood. It looked good in the air, and I ended up having like 30 some feet for eagle. I may have hit it a little too hard, but I left the pin in, so whatever works. But it was good.”
Mariah Stackhouse (-5, T28) on a -4 round that included a double bogey:
“I think especially hitting the ball like I hit it today, the double bogey didn’t jar me that much. It was more shocking. I feel like the par-3s are probably the strongest part of my game; even if I don’t make the birdies, I have an opportunity. All in all, it's disappointing that that could have been a 7-under, but honestly could have been way more. I missed quite a few short putts just burning the edge, lipping out.”