VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club
Longbow Golf Club
Second-Round News & Notes
February 23, 2012
Four Players Share Lead
Dust Off the Rust
Have a Little Help From Her Friends
Tweet of the Day
Stephanie Kono, Alena Sharp, Tiffany Joh and Jenny Suh currently stand at 4-under to lead the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club following the completion of round two.
Twelve groups returned to Longbow Golf Club this morning to finish their round after play was suspended for darkness Saturday at 6:14 p.m.
Kono was the only one of the four players who was forced to return Saturday morning to complete her second round. The former LPGA Tour member began her day on the back-nine where she quickly bogeyed the par-3 11th. She was able to recover and reeled off three consecutive birdies on Nos. 13, 14, and 15 to jump to 2-under for the day.
Her last birdie would come on the par-4 17th before 11 consecutive pars landed her at 3-under for the day and 4-under for the tournament.
The four players head into today’s final round with a one-stroke lead over Amelia Lewis and Jean Chua.
A total of 71 players made the cut which fell at 151 (+7).
Sunday’s final round will begin at 10:15 a.m.
Darkness forced the suspension of second-round play at the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club at 6:14 p.m. on Saturday. A total of 36 players will return to Longbow Golf Club at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday to complete their second round
The trio of players currently stand at 4-under after the completion of their second round which was delayed 90 minutes due to frost.
Sharp, who is a member of the LPGA Tour, began her second round on the back-nine and came out of the gate with a remarkable par save on the par-4 tenth. She then went on to record back-to-back birdies at the par-4 12th and par-4 13th followed-by two consecutive birdies on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th. She recorded her final birdie of the nine on the par-5 18th to make the turn at 5-under for the day.
“I made a good par save on the 10th,” said Sharp. “Then birdies 12 and 13, I was hitting a lot of greens and had a lot of wedges in my hand.”
Following her blistering opening nine, Sharp notched another birdie at the par-4 fourth before faltering down the stretch with bogeys on the par-3 seventh and par-5 ninth to finish the day at 4-under.
“I turned at 5-under then just tried to stay in the present,” said Sharp. “I had chances on my last nine, which is the front, but just missed a couple putts coming in. I had a couple three putts on seven and eight so it should have been 7-under.”
Joh, who is also a member of the LPGA Tour, started her round on the 10th with an errant tee-shot that ultimately lead to a bogey. She then went on to birdie the par-4 12th and pared in to make the turn at even-par for the day.
“I bogeyed the first hole,” said Joh. “I flailed my drive right then I hit it short and I topped it across the green. But then I had a really good up-and-down with like no green to work with but made bogey. It was actually still a positive start.”
The par’s continued to roll in for Joh until she rallied off birdies at the par-3 seventh and par-5 ninth to shoot her second consecutive 2-under round.
Following her round, Joh admitted she didn’t strike the ball particularly well in the second round but managed to get up-and-down to salvage an impressive round.
“It was terrible ball striking,” said Joh. “I was getting up-and-down when I needed to and just hit good shots out of the desert.”
Suh proved to be steady during Saturday’s second round with par’s until her seventh hole where she chipped-in on the par-3 16th for birdie. The Fairfax, Va. native then birdied the par-5 18th to make the turn at 2-under.
Suh immediately took command on the front-nine with a birdie at the par-5 first then had to wait until the par-3 seventh before recording back-to-back birdies to finish the day at 4-under.
“It was just steady but my wedges were really good,” said Suh. “I had two chip-ins total so chip-ins always help. I think maybe I’ll just miss more greens because I swear I can chip them closer than I putted them today.”
Stephanie Kono also currently stands at 4-under in the tournament but still has four holes remaining in her second round.
Dust off the rust… Coming into this week, Tiffany Joh (@tiffjoh) had to dust off the rust on her game which according to her was so bad she even shanked a couple during Thursday’s pro-am. If Saturday’s second round was any indication as to how she has adjusted, she is doing just fine after firing an impressive 4-under 68.
“In the pro-am I hit two really bad hozzle rockets,” said Joh. “It’s one thing when the amateurs hozzle rocket it into the desert because you can just laugh it off but when your pro does it, it’s super awkward. They didn’t even know what to say. I think they were just sitting there like yeah, when I don’t finish my swing that happens to me too. They didn’t even know how to react.”
This week’s VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club marks the first tournament Joh has played in since the 2012 Navistar LPGA Classic which was nearly five months ago. Not only has Joh not played in any tournaments, she has not practiced either due to a trip to Nicaragua and time at the beach.
“I haven’t played in a competitive round in nearly three months,” said Joh. “I took an entire month off and I went to Nicaragua, went surfing for like a week, then I was just kind of like a beach bum the entire offseason. Then a couple weeks ago I was like I should probably start getting ready for this week so there was a little bit of rust.”
Joh, who spends most of her time playing on the LPGA Tour, has a similar mindset regarding practice during the offseason as fellow LPGA Tour member Maria Uribe who referred to it during a press-conference at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“I think it speaks a lot for the mental side of golf,” said Joh. “I was reading some of the interviews with Maria Jose Uribe at Australia and she was talking about how she plays well when she comes back from a break she has no expectations and I think the same holds true for most people.”
Have a little help from her friends… While it might seem a bit strange to see fans in hockey gear at a golf tournament, that was exactly the norm for Alena Sharp’s (@AlenaSharp) gallery during Saturday’s second round of the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club.
Sharp, who currently resides in Arizona, plays on an ice hockey team called En Fuego during the winter months. The Hamilton, Ontario native put on quite the show for her teammates who were decked out in their hockey jerseys and helmets as she shot a second-round 4-under 68.
“My friends who play on the same hockey team as me came out and they were wearing their hockey gear with their helmets on,” said Sharp. “It made me laugh.”
Sharp spends most of her time competing week in and week out on the LPGA Tour but finds reprieve when spending time with her hockey teammates who according to her, avoid all conversations dealing with golf.
“We have a great time,” said Sharp. “It’s nice to have friends outside of golf world. They don’t ask you all the time how you do, they really have no idea, we just go out and have a good time together. It’s nice that they came out to support me.”
Motivation… Heading into the last event of the 2012 season, it looked as if Jenny Suh (@jenny_suh) was a lock to receive her 2013 LPGA Tour card. She was inside the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card but a shocking missed cut at the season-ending event left the University of Alabama grad outside the Volvik Race for the Card top-10.
Rather than letting the heartbreaking finish get her down, Suh has reevaluated her game plan and used it as motivation for this year’s Symetra Tour season.
“It gave me motivation that this year I’m just going to focus on this tour,” said Suh. “Last year I tried to do both and missed a few events out here, missed a couple cuts, and I was just stressed from traveling. I think the schedule pans out really well this season so I’m just going to focus on this and hopefully I’ll come through stronger.”
In the offseason, Suh has worked tirelessly and ramped-up her workouts with trainer, David Donatucci.
“I got a new trainer in West Palm, his name is David Donatucci,” said Suh. “I feel like I’ve been getting stronger so working out is more fun when you’re in better shape.”