HYEMIN KIM ALONE AT THE TOP AFTER 36
EL DORADO, Ark. — Three individuals have separated themselves from the rest of the field at the fourth annual Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, but Hyemin Kim (Seoul, Republic of Korea) holds the outright advantage after the second round at 6-under par overall.
Kim used a 2-under par 70 this afternoon to reach the mark and carry a two-stroke lead into tomorrow’s final round at Mystic Creek Golf Course.
“I am very excited, it has been a while since I have played this well,” said Kim, who carded four birdies and two bogeys. “I really tried hard to just make a par today and it finished really nicely for me. I’ll try to hit the safest spot on the green because they can be really difficult. Sometimes you have to go away from the flag and just take the roll.”
Only 12 players shot in the red today, which is actually up from nine yesterday.
A past winner on the Symetra Tour at the 2017 POC Med Golf Classic, Kim is no stranger to the spotlight and pressure. Nonetheless, she said the difficulty of this course is the reason behind her success.
“I really didn’t try hard for that win, just to hit a good shot every time,” Kim said. “When I’m not feeling well, or I think the course is more difficult than another course, then I focus on every shot because it is really important. That’s why I feel more comfortable this week.”
Meanwhile, overnight leader Casey Danielson (Osceola, Wisconsin) struggled on the front nine, going out in 2-over par 38 fashion. She recovered nicely to finish the day at 1-over par and just two shots back of the lead with 18 holes to play.
“I didn’t really make a lot happen, but this course can do that and you have to stay patient,” said Danielson, after carding four bogeys and three birdies. “A bad shot will cost you big and penalize you more than a normal course. That’s why it is so hard and separates the field a little more. I think it’s always great to be in that final pairing. I am really excited for the learning opportunity and know I’ll be playing with some good players so it’ll be a competitive day.”
Rounding out the final pairing off No. 1 tee at 9:09 a.m. CT tomorrow is Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois). The University of Virginia alumna managed an even par showing by combating a bogey and double bogey with three huge birdies.
Already a Symetra Tour champion in 2018 at the IOA Invitational, Szokol said the way she won at 4-under par overall is consistent with the flow this week in Arkansas and the course setup is also similar.
“I love playing tough golf courses and I’m excited to go chase the leader tomorrow,” Szokol said. “I was excited to come here and knew it was more difficult than last year. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it and just staying steady, avoiding those bogeys. Making a couple birdies is going to be what I need to do.”
A total of 60 players made the cut of 8-over par and only eight competitors sit at even par or better. Final round action is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. CT tomorrow.
Hyemin Kim Round 2 Interview
METRAUX GOING WITH THE FLOW
Since missing the cut in her Symetra Tour debut at the Four Winds Invitational in early June, Morgane Metraux (Lausanne, Switzerland) has five top-25 finishes in eight starts and only one other “MC” by her name.
It is a pretty impressive rookie campaign being put together by the first Switzerland native on the Symetra Tour.
“Is there a secret, I don’t know but I think it is consistency,” said Metraux, who is currently No. 64 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “I have improved my putting a lot since last year, making longer putts, so that is a big bonus this year. It’s really just about the consistency.”
Through two rounds in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Metraux is tied for sixth at even par. A solid 3-under par 69 in the second round moved her up the leaderboard from a starting position of tied for 36th entering today.
In addition to the consistency, there is a couple other elements Metraux said have helped her transition to professional golf.
“My mom [Valerie] and dad [Oliver] have been coming out and helping me on the course sometimes, which made it easier to have someone rather than be alone,” Metraux said. “Being in college here helped me with how to play in the U.S. because it’s really different from Europe. Also, going straight from Florida State to out here was smooth. It’s the same game, you just have to take it the same way.”
Heading into the final round tomorrow at Mystic Creek Golf Course, Metraux will be joined in the penultimate pairing by Sandy Choi (Seoul, Republic of Korea) and Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines), current No. 1 in the Volvik Race for the Card.
“There is not a single shot out there that is stress-free,” said Metraux. “Every single shot you have to be 100 percent into, otherwise you will be penalized. Yesterday I putted well, but my irons were bad. Today, my irons were good and my putting kind of let me down. Hopefully they will come together and I’ll be able to score even better.”
ANOTHER STRONG MOVING DAY FOR COLEMAN
It might be time to rename moving day because Jenny Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California) is simply owning it.
She has not missed an event this year, so in 17 starts Coleman has shot under par on moving day nine times including six occasions of 2-under par or better.
“It seems like this season in particular, my first round is almost like a warmup, just average golf,” said Coleman, who sits at No. 28 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “Then I piece it together in the second round and hit the ball more normal. I’ll make putts and it seems easier, take aspects from each round and make a plan for what I want to change.”
Today was no exception for the former University of Colorado standout, as she found her way to six birdies and three bogeys to finish round two at 3-under par. Coleman went from tied for 48th when she started the day to tied for ninth at 1-over par overall.
The performance by Coleman for this moving day at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout was highlighted by a bogey-free, 5-under par 31 on the back nine after starting on No. 10.
“You can start to get on a roll, but on this course you can still hit some good shots and have the ball dribble off the green,” Coleman said. “Then you have to scramble, or I stuck a couple in the bunkers today. You have to be prepared for anything even if it’s going well, and play for margins.”
Coleman will join Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand) and Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California) in the antepenultimate group off No. 1 tomorrow. With her goals still in sight, Coleman said the final round is important to her success as the Symetra Tour season winds down.
“Minimum I want to be in the top-30 for the season, bypass Stage II of Q-School and go straight to Q-Series,” said Coleman. “Otherwise, always try to fight for the top-10. Some weeks you get lucky and you’re hot, but I just need keep it going strong tomorrow.”