Stephanie Meadow. Photo by Golffile
Stephanie Meadow shot a sensational 65 to move up to a share of third place at the Pelican Women’s Championship in Belleair, Florida.
The 28 year old started on the back nine with a bogey on the par 4 10th but fired in two birdies on the par 3 12th and par 5 14th to make the turn on one under par.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year had a bogey free back nine with birdies on 5, 6, 8 and 9 to finish on six under for the tournament and just two shots behind clubhouse leader Sei Young Kim, who finished the day on eight under for the tournament.
"My back nine was awesome," Meadow said. "Played really solid. The front nine I hit barely any greens and made a ton of up-and-downs. Just kept my cool on my front nine, the back nine, and was able to make some birdies coming in, which was nice."
Breakthrough winners in their last starts, Sei Young Kim and Ally McDonald were on top again Friday in the Pelican Women's Championship.
The second-ranked Kim, making her first start since winning the KPMG Women's PGA a month and half ago at Aronimink for her first major title, shot a 5-under 65 at Pelican Golf Club to take a one-stroke lead over McDonald into the weekend.
Not that Kim was paying attention to the leaderboard.
"Golf is compete with myself, I think," Kim said. "If you see the leaderboard then I think I think about the other things. I just want to think about focus on myself and what I have to do."
McDonald had a 66. She won her first LPGA Tour title late last month in the Drive On Championship-Reynolds Lake Oconee in Georgia in the tour's last event.
"My ball-striking was just a little off yesterday, but managed to play really solid," McDonald said. "I was able to strike it better today. Had a few more realistic looks for birdie. Overall, I just feel like I'm still rolling the ball really well, which gives me a lot of confidence and takes a little pressure off my ball-striking in general. Feel like I don't have to hit had it really, really close."
Kim had an 8-under 132 total in the first-year tournament originally set for the same week as the PGA Championship in May. The 11-time LPGA Tour winner birdied four of the first five holes and added another on the par-5 14th.
"It was a tough to make the chance to birdie on the back nine because pin position really tough," Kim said. "Pins, most pins were right next to undulation, so if you miss the distance, it'll come back, all the way back. I had three good up-and-downs. Bogey-free round It was really good play today."
First-round lead Sophia Popov, the Women's British Open winner at Royal Troon in August, was tied for third at 6 under with Stephanie Meadow. Popov followed an opening 64 with a 70, playing alongside McDonald and top-ranked Jim Young Ko.
"Ally had a good start, too," Popov said. "When I started making a couple bogeys she was making birdies, and so I knew she was getting close to me. I think that also helped to push me."