It was a case of déjà vu for Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow as the two Irishwomen were amongst the victims of the halfway cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA at Hazeltine.
This week was their second bite at a Major cherry this season having struggled at the US Women’s Open at Charleston earlier this month. However, Hazeltine National was playing brutally difficult all week too and although the cut ballooned to five-over par as a result of the conditions, both Irish players narrowly fell short of the qualifying mark.
For a time last night it looked as though Meadow might sneak into the weekend; her second successive three-over par 75 on Friday morning leaving her at six-over par as the projected cut-line edged out to plus-five.
Unfortunately that’s where it stayed, with Cavan’s Maguire out in the late afternoon looking to overcome a six-over par effort on day one to keep her chances alive.
The former world amateur number one made the turn in level par, grinding for every shot knowing that one birdie could see her through. But mistakes on 10 & 11 led to bogeys and although Maguire birdied 12 to get back to plus-seven, she couldn’t find another and bogeyed the last for a round of 74.
Australian Hannah Green is still the leader after 36 holes, three strokes clear of two-time major winner Ariya Jutanugarn.
On Thursday, Green used the putter only 23 times, making bunches of par saves after hitting only nine greens. The magic came when she holed a bunker shot for birdie on her 16th hole. On Friday, the 22-year-old Australian hit 13 greens and used 27 putts on her way to a 69 on top of a 68, making her the only player with two rounds under 70 on a Hazeltine course that’s a true major championship test.
“Even when you play this type of golf at just a regular event you’re pretty proud of yourself,” she said. “But this week especially, I’ve never put myself in this position in any event so to be doing it this week at such a great venue definitely shows things are going the right way. I have had some luck going my way. I do hope that continues.”
Green’s 36-hole total of seven-under par 137 was posted early and held up, although it was threatened late with a determined run by Jutanugarn, who got as low as six under par before finishing with a 70 to be at four-under-par 140.
Defending KPMG Women’s PGA champion Sung Hyun Park enters the weekend with a chance to keep her title, sitting in third place at 141 with Lydia Ko.
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