10 Feb 2023 | Professional golf |
Porter a runaway leader after course record
by Martin Blake
A day after soaring to the lead with a brilliant opening round at 13th Beach, Cassie Porter has done it all over again, only better.
The 20-year-old from Peregian Beach in Queensland has a strangehold on the Vic Open women’s tournament after she broke the course record on the Creek course today in superb round-two conditions.
Porter made two eagles – a hole-out with a wedge from 75 metres at the par-4 fifth hole, and another at the par-5 18th hole where she hit her second shot from 180 metres to just two metres from the flag and rammed the putt home.
For the second day in a row she played alongside multiple major winners Karrie Webb and Jiyai Shin yet remained completely unflustered by the occasion.
She is running hot on courses that have yielded in benign conditions, and she may be on the verge of her biggest win in just more than a year as a professional.
At 15-under par, Porter leads by a whopping five shots from Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan, an LPGA Tour for several years at 10-under American Emma Talley, another LPGA player, is next at 9-under along with Holly Clyburn of England.
“A lot of things went right,” said Porter, who also made six birdies and a bogey on the day. “I stuck to my game plan today and it came off. You’ve got to take it when it comes, because it doesn’t come very often.”
While she looked calm on the outside, Porter said this was a myth. “I’m glad I came off like that because I definitely was (nervous) all day every day. But they’re amazing players, when you’re in a group like that and everyone’s playing well, you kind of feed off it. And I did so I was really happy with the result. Putting a score like that is pretty cool.”
Porter was in the zone. Playing the back nine first, she reached the par-5 18th and hit it closer than she had even envisioned. “I wasn’t actually planning to go that close to the pin. I was trying to pull it back a few metres to have a 15-metre putt up the hill. It flew a little further than I thought and it ended up at six feet which was really good and holed the putt.”
Then on the front nine she reached the par-4 fifth hole and promptly made another eagle with her gap wedge. “I hit it and Em (Emily McLennan) my caddie and I said ‘sit, that is so far over’. I didn’t see it, but I heard the crowd.”
South Korea’s Shin, a former world No. 1 and dual major winner, shot 67 today to remain in the mix while Webb also played better, a 69 to be 4-under overall.
South Australian amateur Caitlyn Peirce was a stand-out today, shooting a 68 to sit inside the top 10.
Meanwhile the runaway leader Porter headed off to hike around the headland at nearby Barwon Heads in the afternoon.
She turned professional in December 2021 after an outstanding amateur career, and earlier this year logged her first pro win at Latrobe in Melbourne. Later this year she heads to America to play the Epson Tour.
This weekend, she promises to keep the same mindset into a couple of rounds that could set up her career.
“Exactly the same as I would any other one,” she said. “It (winning) is in my mind but it’s definitely not my main focus. It’s just another tournament of the year, obviously it’s Vic Open, it’s pretty big, but it’s not my main focus. I’ve still got two days of work to do. Hopefully I can keep it rolling.”
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