Leona Maguire put in a brave performance in the second round at the PHC Classic which is the official United States qualifier for The Evian Championship and the top-two finishers earn exemption into the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour schedule.
Maguire, who was well down the field after day one birdied four of her final six holes to return a round of 70 and move up to T49 on the leaderboard to comfortably make the cut on day two at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
Unfortunately for Stephanie Meadow she carded a 72 and missed the cut by two strokes as she returned a round of 72 which included two birdies and three bogeys.
Overnight leader Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) increased her lead with a 5-under par 67 performance to take a three-stroke advantage into the final round of the fourth annual PHC Classic at 13-under overall and the highlight of her afternoon came on the par-5 10th when Ardina carded a double eagle.
“I hit it close on Nos. 8 and 9 to about 5-6 feet, but I missed both putts,” said Ardina. “So, I told my caddie before I hit my second shot on 10 that I need to put this on the green and at least try to make an eagle to make up for those short putts. I holed it and was shocked, surprised, but really happy.”
With a two-day total of 131, Ardina breaks the PHC Classic 36-hole scoring mark of 135 set by Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario) last year.
“I thought maybe if I shot 2-under on the front and 2-under on the back that I would be in a good position,” Ardina said. “It’s always give and take. Having two three-putts today and a double eagle, I’ll take it because it’s golf.”
Meanwhile, the best scores in round two came courtesy of Cheyenne Knight (Aledo, Texas) and Dana Finkelstein (Chandler, Arizona). Each fired a bogey-free, 7-under par 65 to drastically vault up the leaderboard, as Finkelstein went from 61st to tied for ninth and Knight ended the day tied for seventh after starting 43rd.
For Knight, it was a career-best, as the rookie topped her previous low round of 4-under par set on two different occasions—the second round of the Forsyth Classic and first round of the Prasco Charity Championship.
“I feel like I have been putting well and I really hadn’t put a low number up so far out here, but today everything was clicking,” said Knight, who is searching for her second top-10. “Really rolled the ball well today and it was solid overall. I like this course because it’s tighter off the tee, firm and fast on the greens.”