Missed cuts for Maguire and Meadow at Mizuho Open

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Thai superstar Atthaya Thitikul claimed the second-round lead at the Mizuho Americas Open, firing a 7-under 65 on Friday to tie the low round of the week.

Thitikul went bogey-free during round two, carding seven birdies, including five in her last seven holes, and broke the 36-hole tournament scoring record by two shots. Following her first-round 70 (-2) on Thursday, the 21-year-old got off to a hot start on Friday with birdies on 1 and 3.

After eight straight “frustrating” pars, she finally dropped two birdies in a row on 12 and 13 and then made three birdies in a row on 15, 16 and 17. She nearly sank another one on 18 to shoot a new low round of the week, but lipped out and settled for par.

“I think on the front nine, I didn’t have like that much kind of ball striking as the back nine had. But overall, I just really enjoyed it and then trust the process that I have been working on,” said Thitikul, who hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens on Friday. “I think I have been committed so good about the mindset, so it’s a good day for bogey-free and finishing on 18, like back nine with a bunch of birdies.”

The 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year has missed much of the 2024 season due to a lingering thumb injury but made an excellent return at The Chevron Championship, where she also held the second-round lead and ultimately finished 12th. The young star has been candid about struggling both mentally and physically with her injury but said it has recently “clicked and changed my mind. Just being able to play golf is good enough for me. It’s just go enjoy. Just do the best that you can do out there.” This week is no different, even after a disappointing last week at the Cognizant Founders Cup, where she missed the cut by one.

“Last week kind of bring fire on me. Miss the cut by just one and then just like kind of bring fire on me a little bit, like angry about last week a little bit,” Thitikul said. “I think last week I didn’t play that bad. I just couldn’t make the putt. And then this week, I change the putter last week. I change from my old one to my new one, and now I change back. I change it back, and then I think maybe it’s kind of like more confidence (with the old one) more than the new one that I have last week.”

In second behind Thitikul is LPGA Tour rookie So Mi Lee, who has taken incredible advantage of her late addition to the field as the second alternate. She held the first-round lead after replacing Maja Stark, who withdrew from the field on Thursday morning about an hour and a half before her scheduled tee time. Lee shot a first-round 66 with her father on the bag, as she had told her regular caddie, Andrew Tomasi, not to come. She followed that up with a 1-under 71 with Tomasi back in action after he caught a late flight from Orlando, Fla., on Thursday. Now, the five-time KLPGA winner will play in the final group on Saturday and hopefully continue to take advantage of the last-minute opportunity.

Incredibly, Mao Saigo, the first alternate on site who also earned late entry into the field like Lee, sits in a tie for third alongside fellow rookie Gabriela Ruffels, 12-time LPGA Tour winner Ariya Jutanugarn and 13-time winner Nelly Korda, who is chasing her sixth victory of the 2024 season this week.

On the AJGA side, Southern California’s Jasmine Koo sits in the lead with 74 points after two rounds of 71 (from different yardages than Tour pros). Koo was the low amateur at The Chevron Championship earlier this year, her first-ever LPGA Tour start, and played as an AJGA junior at last year’s inaugural Mizuho Americas Open.

“This year, I definitely think my game is stronger than last year. I’m smarter out there,” Koo said. “And also, I feel like I racked up experience coming into this event. Played in the ANWA with a bunch of patrons and The Chevron, which was my first LPGA event. An LPGA event is different from junior events. Pin positions, green speeds, setup of the course. I think the LPGA, playing in that course condition at The Chevron definitely helped me with this event.”

Fifty-eight LPGA Tour players made the cut at 1-under on Friday. The cut was made to the top 50 and ties, and there was no cut for the AJGA juniors. New to 2024, LPGA players in the top 65 and ties will receive official money and CME points based on their position.

On Saturday and Sunday, one AJGA junior will play alongside two LPGA Tour pros based on score. For example, the first- and second-place LPGA Tour players, Thitikul and Lee, will be paired with the first place AJGA junior, Koo, for Saturday’s round. Once all 24 AJGA juniors are paired, LPGA Tour players will play together in threesomes.

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