Jersey City, N.J. - Thursday was a day of comebacks at the Mizuho Americas Open. Three golfers who started the day with plus scores were able to rally to at least break even.
Perhaps the highlight of the trio of comebacks came from Minjee Lee. Lee entered the second day of competition at Liberty National golf club at +1, but posted an 8-under 62 to pole vault into a two-way tie for first place. While she, personally, felt that she played better on Thursday than what her score indicated, Lee's comeback was aided by flawless score card that could not have looked too much better and making some more difficult putts.
"Yeah, I mean, I didn't really feel like my score reflected sort of how I played yesterday, so I really just came in with a positive attitude," Lee said about her mindset coming into Friday's round.
She later added, "I holed some really great putts today. A couple--a few long ones and a few mid-range. I don't think I had like any tap-in, so they were all really great putts."
A greater familiarity with the course after one day of competition may have also aided in Lee's, and others' comebacks.
With regards to being more familiar with the course after one day of play Lee said, "I think Liberty National is the kind of course where if you play it more, the better idea you have. So since it's the inaugural event it's the same for everybody. I think day by day--you learn new things about the course everyday, so yeah, I think a little bit of the contour of the greens. I'm getting a better idea where they are and how to utilize them."
New Jersey native, Marina Alex, who was another member of the trio to put together a comeback, concurred with Lee's assesent that gaining a greater knowledge of Liberty National's course helped her on day two.
"Well, I played it as horribly as I could play it yesterday, so I think I learned every place not to be and just--it's a tricky course, and honestly, I just think that I--it required on my end probably a little bit more prep going into yesterday," Alex said.
She added, "I made some dumb decisions off the tees that cost me like a bunch of shots. I learned from that today and then I just kind of got off to a really good, solid start, and luckily the momentum just kept going in my favor."
Alex, also, finished 8-under for the day allowing her to move from +8 to even par for the tournament. While Alex's rally may not have moved her to the top of the leader board, it did allow her to move onto the weekend as the cut was made at +2.
With their Friday scores of 64, Lee and Alex set the 18 hole scoring record for the Mizuho Americas Open. Lee, and Cheyenne Knight, have also now set the 36 hole scoring record with scores of 136.
In addition to Lee and Alex, world number one, Jin Young Ko made a substantial rally of her own. Like Lee, Ko came into Friday's round sitting at 1-over-par. Ko carded eight birdies and two bogies for a second round 6-under, and a -5 for the tournament. Ko's score of 5-under for the tournament puts her in a tie for fourth place heading into the weekend.
Ko cited improved putting between rounds one and two as the reason for her jump in in the standings.
"Everything was good," Ko said of her day two performance. "Yesterday was good, too, but putt was trader for me. So putter was trader for me, so I practiced a little bit last night, and, yeah, I had like 'A' game, so I'm happy with it."
Other golfers at the top of the LPGA leaderboard in Jersey City include, Cheyenne Knight, who is tied with Lee in first place, and Lydia Ko who sits in solo third at 6-under-par for the tournament.
On the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) side of the Mizuho Americas Open, Yana Wilson remains in first place with 77 points while, Basking Ridge native, Katie Li fell back into a tie for 16th. The second round of the AJGA tournament will be completed tomorrow as storms caused a delay in Friday's action causing the second round of the AJGA tournament to not be completed due to darkness. The AJGA players will resume play at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday before being added to LPGA pairings in the third round.
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