ITURRIOS TAKES LEAD INTO WEEKEND
Following a steady 1-under par 71 on day two of the inaugural Zimmer Biomet Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, Nuria Iturrios (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) is the 36-hole outright leader by two shots at 9-under par overall.
The 23-year-old was 2-over through five holes, then found her way to three birdies the rest of the way. Maintaining the advantage at the halfway point, Iturrios pointed to her training in the offseason as the reason for her success.
“That was the key of why I’m playing this good,” said Iturrios. “I changed my low shots to keep my ball straight, but shorter. That is really good for me and the putting. Another good thing for me to is the tournament being four rounds, I’m used to playing that on the Ladies European Tour. Do my routines and keep my mind calm, that is all I want to do and the rest is to play well.”
NEW IRONS HAVE KWAK IN STRIKING DISTANCE
Ever since Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea) switched irons over to the Callaway Apex 19 premium forged set just a few days before the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout last month, she has noticed a difference in ball striking and overall confidence in her game.
Kwak recorded a 2-under par in the second round of the Zimmer Biomet Championship and is only two strokes behind Iturrios at 7-under overall. With two top-10 finishes in her last three starts after making the transition from 4-iron through pitching wedge, she is once again poised to make a run at a title.
“They helped me a lot and I can play better with my new clubs,” said Kwak, a two-time Symetra Tour champion in 2014 at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship and Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. “Try to make top-10s every week, maybe try to win at least once. I couldn’t hit the perfect shot every time, but tried to be on the right numbers. Every week is same and if I like the course then I try harder to get better scores. It depends on the course, not about the purse.”
HOME STATE COOKING FOR JACKSON
One of two competitors from the host state in the field this week, Janie Jackson (Huntsville, Alabama) is using knowledge of the familiar Lake Course at Grand National on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail to her advantage as she heads into the weekend only three shots off the lead at 6-under par overall.
“I played this golf course growing up a few times in high school, so I know it really well,” said Jackson, a former three-time state champion for Huntsville High School. “Not to say I’m used to the heat—I don’t think anybody is used to it—but I knew what to expect. It feels really good to finally put some good rounds of golf together, being kind of at home and in an important tournament. I have done a pretty good job of getting into a rhythm early and staying focused throughout the round.”
The University of Alabama alumna carded a 3-under par 69 this afternoon and hit 15 greens in regulation for a second straight day. She’ll be joined by Maddie Szeryk (London, Ontario, Canada) and Bailey Tardy (Norcross, Georgia) in the penultimate grouping off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 9:01 a.m. ET.
Maddie Szeryk (-6, T3) on her rookie season and what she has learned to this point:
"You really have to pace yourself because after our first two-week stretch I was so tired. I’ve gone two or three week stretches before, but now I’m driving and doing everything myself. Learning to take a break when you need to and focus on what I need to improve for the next week. The last event didn’t go that well, so I took some time to rest and figure out what needs to be better. Take advantage of the weekend when you have it.”
Robynn Ree (-6, T3) on finishing with three straight birdies and how she’ll approach the weekend:
“It was really kind of unexpected. I was coming in with all pars and just tried to get them as close as I could. I hit 16 greens and had 30 putts, which isn’t that great. Just need to keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully more putts drop. I’m used to playing four days and am not too concerned about it. Want to play each day and not make the same mistakes.”
Bailey Tardy (-6, T3) on battling to a 1-over par second round and staying near top of leaderboard:
“I really didn’t even hit that bad of a shot on No. 3, got unlucky with the water. Tried to keep positive thoughts going through my head there and wasn’t committing to my shots. On the back nine, I committed to my shots and focused a little bit more on hitting fairways, greens, taking it back to the basics. I missed a couple short ones coming in, but there’s still a lot of golf left. I’m in contention.”
- Iturrios, 23, is a native of Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Member of the Ladies European Tour (LET) since 2016 with total of 36 starts
- Stepped into winner’s circle for the first time as a professional at the 2016 Lalla Meryem Cup
- Rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2018 competed in 19 events and made 11 cuts with season-best T5 result at Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic
- Captured back-to-back LET tournament titles between late April and early May of 2019 at the Lalla Meryem Cup and Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic
- Played the weekend five times in six starts on the “Road to the LPGA” this year with a season-best performance of T14 at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic