A bogey-free, 6-under par 66 by Sophia Schubert (Oaks Ridge, Tennessee) on Saturday launched her into a share of the lead at the inaugural Circling Raven Championship with two-time Symetra Tour champion Peiyun Chien (Pingtung, Chinese Taipei). Both individuals sit at -11 overall, while Schubert has carded 12 birdies over the opening 36 holes to reach the mark.
Schubert’s performance so far in Worley, Idaho is fresh off a pair of top-10 finishes, including a share of second at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship to match a career-best result on the Symetra Tour. The duo sets the pace and will head off No. 1 tee in the final pairing on Sunday at 12:50 p.m. PDT.
“I just stayed patient out there, tried to hit as many fairways and greens as I could. I didn't realize that I didn’t have any bogeys today,” said Schubert. “I would attribute my confidence to the team around me; my friends, family, caddy, trainer, they have really pushed me into the mindset of ‘I got the game and I just have to go out there and focus one shot at a time.’ They have really been a big support system for me. I tend to get really down on myself, and they are always there reminding me that I can do this. It has been really helpful.”
Chien may have missed the cut in each of er last three starts, but she has one top-five finish this season and knows how to seal the deal.
“I am pretty happy, played well the last two days. I haven’t really been playing well and have been bouncing back and forth between tours, which has been confusing for me and I have lost trust in myself,” Chien said. “[Recently], I did a lot of rest and acupuncture to take care of my body, so I have more energy and my thinking is better.”
After making the turn in the second round at 4-under, Chien opened her back nine with an unexpected birdie on No. 10 to cap a moving day 67.
“My tee shot went all the way left and I pushed it, had to take a drop. Then it was a 30-yard, downhill chip. I remembered a competition with Laura [Gonzalez Escallon] and she just taught me to hit it softer. I thought of what she said, and it helped because I chipped it in,” Chien said.
MIN-G KIM SEEING HER GAME COME TOGETHER
Following a second-round 70 at the inaugural Circling Raven Championship, Min-G Kim (Cheongju, People’s Republic of Korea) is -10 for the tournament and in solo third heading into the final 18 holes.
“It feels pretty amazing to have my name on the leaderboard. I’m just hoping to keep it up there. I mean nerves are a waste of energy versus excitement, you want to get excited for it and try to take it slow, do the same thing I did today,” said Kim, who has her father on the bag this week. “I grew up in the Philippines and he was a member, so I grew up on the golf course. He was my first coach. He used to be an avid [golfer], but he doesn't play anymore. Honestly this is as much of his game, as it is my game.”
With nine career top-10 finishes, two of which came in her last three starts, Kim will tee off in the penultimate pairing off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. PDT in search of her first win on the “Road to the LPGA.
RUNAS CLEARS HER MIND DURING ROUND TWO
Clear Golf ambassador Demi Runas (Torrance, California) is set to join Min-G Kim in the penultimate pairing for the final round after turning in a 4-under par 68 on day two. She is tied for fourth with Fatima Fernandez Cano at -9, two strokes behind the lead.
“It is a different pressure when you are in chase mode rather than holding the lead. When you are a couple shots back, I feel I can be more aggressive and just go for it a little more,” said Runas. “I definitely think the par-5s are more friendly this week, which is always fun because there’s chances for eagles and to make some noise that way. There are also some par-4s that are reasonable, so you just need to know where you need to be on the fairway to attack the pins. I think there is opportunities out there, it is just a matter of going after them.”
Runas entered the week following a season-best finish of a tie for eighth at the Four Winds Invitational. In hopes of having some help pushing her bag this weekend, she called in friend and Gonzaga University women’s golf assistant coach, Victoria Falgren.
“It gets hard if you don't have a normal caddy out here, so it's nice to have somebody that I've known forever,” Runas said. “She is basically more family than friend. It takes your mind off the situation a bit.”