14 Feb 2020 | Women's Australian Open |
The Aussies: Choi joins party, Oh misses out
by Mark Hayes
Five Australians are left to fly the flag this weekend at Royal Adelaide Golf Club – including a new name to many and minus one we expected.
Hannah Green will lead the charge for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open title from a share of ninth after a topsy-turvy second round left her at six under and in a share of ninth.
Minjee Lee and the emerging Robyn Choi are both also within reach of the 10-under-par lead at four under, but pre-tournament fancy Su Oh will be making alternative arrangements after her bid wilted in the closing holes.
Queensland duo Katherine Kirk and Karis Davidson survived nervous waits, but fell in on the number when the cut was made at even par.
Green was less than stellar with the majority of her short to mid-range birdie putts, but gave herself more than enough opportunities to suggest she’ll give the title she covets a run this weekend.
The West Australian was two under early and eyeing a top rung on the leaderboard, but paid the price with bogeys on each of the 14th, 16th and 1st holes where her approaches narrowly missed the greens.
Her two-under 71 also cost her a shot at one of her sneaky goals – a tee time with legendary co-leader, Inbee Park.
“Yeah, I’ve actually never played with Inbee before, so I was trying to get as close to her as possible,” Green said.
“She’s obviously a great player. Yeah, it’s going to be very challenging (to run her down) considering all she’s achieved in her career.
“It’s not the first time she’s led after two rounds. So, hopefully I can have some putts drop and be in contention.”
Green sent a joking warning to the hordes of her family and friends who have trekked to Adelaide to watch her bid to win the Patricia Bridges Bowl.
“I actually hit my uncle (on Thursday) … I didn’t do that today, but I almost took out Dad - he had to quickly move,” she said.
“I’ve actually got a few people watching me, so I said they’re probably next tomorrow.”
Choi, who made the biggest cheque of her young professional career with a T6t finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open last week, was again super impressive.
She charged to five under for her second round with consecutive birdies on the first and second after previously making eagle on the 17th, but gave back two shots late to card a fine 70.
“I probably had a little look at the leaderboard there for a minute,” Choi said with a giggle.
“Made a couple of mistakes late, but I’m pretty happy to be back into the weekend again.”
Lee battled for momentum for much of her round, but closed with consecutive birdies to eke out a blue-collar 72.
“I kind of grinded all day and it probably could have been worse, but it was nice to finish with two birdies and stay (in the hunt),” the West Australian said.
“I’ll just have to try and post a score early and be good to go for Sunday.”
A big disappointment for Aussie fans was the failure of Oh to make the cut.
The Victorian, who began at one over, was inside the cut line for much of her round after an eagle on the 17th hole, her eighth.
But three bogeys in her final four holes was enough to end her 12th tilt at her national championship, closing at one over.
Legendary five-time winner Karrie Webb made a valiant late run with two back-nine birdies edging her to the cusp of the eventual cut line.
But to the dismay of the appreciative gallery she made a bogey up the last and finished with a pair of 74s.
Her two-over total was enough to have Webb finish alongside fellow Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith, who simply couldn’t buy a putt en route to a 75.
Perth’s Whitney Hillier showed glimpses of her best today with four birdies, but unfortunately mixed in six bogeys en route to a 74 and four over total.
Sydney’s Sarah Kemp couldn’t replicate last year’s bold showing, falling from a total of two under through five holes of her second round to five over after a string of seven late bogeys.
The Stephanies – Na and Bunque, of South Australia and Victoria, respectively – couldn’t find the momentum they needed to rectify problematic opening rounds and each finished at six over.
The Illawarra’s Tahnia Ravnjak will also have the weekend off after two flat rounds left her at 15 over.
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