Women's Pac-10 Golf Championship: Day 2
April 24, 2007
By Joshua Mayers
SEATTLE - Despite a strong run by UCLA's Tiffany Joh and the rest of the Bruin team, first-round leader Anna Nordqvist and the Sun Devils extended their leads by one stroke on Tuesday.
Nordqvuist shot an even-par 72 to remain at 4-under for the tournament, stretching her lead to four strokes over Joh and Stanford sophomore Mari Chun. In her first round on Monday, the No. 2 ranked freshman hit a tournament-best, 4-under 68.
'I'm really happy because of the tough conditions,' Nordqvist said. 'I could take an even par on this course everyday.'
Washington senior Amber Prange jumped from tied for ninth to fourth with a 1-over 73, finishing 4-over after 36 holes. Arizona's Alison Walshe, ASU's Juliana Murcia and USC's Paolo Moreno are all tied for fifth, at 5-over.
The Sun Devils as a team are now 21-over for the tournament, seven strokes better than UCLA and 16 stokes better than third-place Arizona. USC (+38) and Washington (+47) round out the top five.
'I was really pleased with our composure today and not giving it away when it got tough,' said ASU coach Melissa Luellen.
Just two holes into her front nine, Nordqvist shot her first bogey of the tournament. She followed that with an immediate birdie on No. 3.
'With Anna, if she has a slow start she typically recovers right away - it doesn't bother her,' Luellen said. 'She has a lot of faith in her short game and she's hitting the ball very well.'
The biggest challenge to Nordqvuist came from Joh, a 5-foot-6 sophomore from UCLA. After a 2-over 74 in the first round, last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year shot the round of the day: a 2-under 70. The San Diego, Calif., native made eagles on No. 6 and No. 13 (both par-5s) to help jump from a sixth-place tie to a tie for second.
'I mean it could've been better, but obviously it could've been a lot worse, so I'll take it and run,' Joh said.
Joh, the 23rd-ranked player in the country, hit the No. 6 green in two strokes -hitting an 8-iron to within 25 feet for eagle. Seven holes after sinking that putt, she eyed another with a 3-iron from 190 yards away into the wind.
'I swung as hard as I could, fell off balance and face-planted into the ground,' Joh said with a laugh. 'I didn't expect it to end up as pure as it did.'
And pure it was, just 12 feet right of the hole, which she calmly sunk.
'She's been working in her game a lot and really trying to improve on her weaknesses, which has typically been her short game,' said coach Carrie Forsyth.
Joh was paired with Stanford's Chun, who has the only other golfer who began the round under par.
Chun finished with a one-over 73, to finish even after 36 holes, tied with Joh for second.
'My short game has definitely kept me alive,' Chun said.
After them on the leaderboard is Prange, who attends school just a couple miles from the course at the University of Washington. The Husky bogeyed two of her last three holes, but finished with a solid 1-over 73.
'I definitely gave myself a lot more birdie opportunities today,' Prange said. 'I lipped out four birdie putts within ten feet.'
With just 18 holes left to play, all eyes for now are on Arizona State. Nordqvist and her team each have a comfortable lead, but the rest of the field is still within reach.
'Anna's [first] round told us that there are some birdies to be had out there,' Joh said.