The three remaining players on the LPGA Tour – Su Oh, Sarah Jane Smith and Karis Davidson – are second, third and fourth respectively, with new professional Grace Kim ahead at five cents, a stroke ahead of Oh.
From 10and alongside Geoff Ogilvy, Kim got off to a bad start with a bogey at long par 4 before winning the abandoned shot at short 12and hole and adding three more birdies to his card for a round of 68 (-3) to take pole position in the race to be the first Karrie Webb Cup winner in calmer morning conditions.
“It was good, it was definitely better than the wind hitting you,” Kim said of the Friday morning weather. “It was definitely much quieter there in the morning. We had a little rain, but in the end everything went well. The skittles were a little hard but in the end too, it was ok.
Believing she had left a few shots on the course as she alone held the lead at Royal Queensland, Kim headed straight to the green to work on her stroke before clashing with Oh and Smith over the weekend . Despite the unusual situation of not playing with its closest competitors.
TO THE RIGHT: Sarah Jane Smith showed significant improvement on day two at Royal Queensland to sit two behind Kim. PHOTO: PGA Tour of Australasia.
Since the WPGA Championship takes place at the same time as the PGA Men’s Championship, tournament officials decided to continue the formula with two men and one woman in each group over the weekend. A decision that Oh was surprised to learn after his 72nd final.
“I think it would make sense to play together. I’m not sure. Even though I like playing with the boys, it’s a different trophy,” Oh said. guess we’d only play one group, but since it’s two different trophies, two different tournaments in one place – which is great – but yeah, I just thought we could be paired up, but that’s okay.”
Believing the large crowds that have gathered in the first two days despite the January heat in Brisbane are set to increase over the weekend, Oh is sure the cheers and roars, along with plenty of rankings, will help him to follow Kim and Smith. by the way as she mounts her challenge.
Likewise, heading to the green after her afternoon round with Mike Clayton happily browsing her practice to offer some advice, Oh was pleased with her ability to hang on Friday despite not having her best game ever. .
“I think it could have blown a lot today, but I didn’t really play in the afternoon. It was just as windy yesterday morning, but I think the greens were holding maybe a bit better” Oh said, “There weren’t as many gusts. The wind direction has changed since yesterday and today there were a lot of crosswinds.”
“It’s also grainy on the fairways so if we don’t catch it 100 per cent you just don’t get the same height you want so your distances are all over the place and you have to be so precise here. J Hopefully I’ll be a little better in the next two days.
After a one-round second round, Su Oh sits behind Grace Kim with 36 holes to play. PHOTO: PGA Tour of Australasia.
Someone who was better than his work the day before was Smith, who found himself a back shot from Oh after a 68 that improved his score in the first round by three.
“I was happy with that,” Smith said after her lap. “I felt like I wasted a few on the easier holes. I kind of birdied some of the tougher ones. But I was really happy to get away with less than three this afternoon.
“Yesterday I didn’t take advantage of the holes where you can really birdie here, so today I did a bit better, so that was good.”
Although both Smith and Oh are happy with their position after 36 holes, and one-under Davidson is by no means out of the game, Kim is a rising star in Australian golf. The one who seems to be finding her best golf at mixed events alongside the men of recent times, including the recent Western Open in Dubbo and the Sandbelt Invitational where she beat Oh for low women’s honours.
The strategy required at Royal Queensland is clearly working for Kim, and with some additional knowledge gleaned from the grand champion of her group for the first two days of this week, Kim could prove a tough prospect for her more experienced challengers to chase down.
“She has no weakness, she showed no nervousness – the complete package.” – Geoff Ogilvy on Grace Kim.
“I think the biggest lesson – well, I’m still learning for sure – is that you just have to be calm and collected on the golf course,” Kim said of the early stages of his professional career. . “I saw Geoff, he didn’t do very well today and maybe he’s not very happy with himself, but I think he did really well to be able to keep him in the game and obviously not to get too emotional.
“I think towards the end of my amateur career I was definitely a bit too emotional with my shots and yeah, it was so nice to be able to see, even with his career, he’s still able to stay in the present, you know, one shot at a time and its short game – wow – I wish I had a short game.
Kim watching and learning from one of our best modern players shows why she is constantly improving, even when fighting for her own title. And although she may not know it, her acting also impresses some very good judges.
“She has no weakness, she showed no nervousness — the complete package,” Ogilvy told AAP of Kim after their two rides together.
If those nerves stay at bay and Kim’s game continues to show no signs of letting up, this package could just include a first pro win on Sunday.
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