The scorecard has been perfect for Ruoning Yin (Shanghai, China) through 36 holes, as the 19-year-old recorded a 7-under par 65 Friday on the Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club for her second bogey-free round in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II.
“Everything is pretty good, pretty solid and I made a couple putts,” said Yin, who leads by three strokes at 10-under overall. “My long game was much better than yesterday and the ball striking, everything is just good.”
Yin won the 2020 Zhuhai Guowei Centre Plaza Hollywood Mansion Challenge on the China LPGA Tour in her professional debut, the first of three straight victories on the CLPGA which is the most consecutive wins by a player in CLPGA history. She came to Venice, Fla., with one goal, just like the rest of the field. “It is to make top 45 to get through to final stage [Q-Series], but I don’t put much pressure on myself,” she said.
Her list of objectives does not stop there. Yin also wants to hit 10 fairways and 12 greens in regulation each round, while converting four out of six up-and-down opportunities. She accomplished her mission on Friday, but with two up and downs. The bogey-free train prevented any further chances.
“I was excited about this but after all, I think there’s always someone that’s better than you, so just keep going,” Yin said. “I set the goal for every day and if I can make it, I think that’s a pretty good round for me. Same thing tomorrow, just assess my golf every day and try to make it.”
Three individuals sit three strokes back of Yin’s lead at 7-under overall including Maddi Caldwell-Young (Milton, Georgia), who shot the low score on the Panther Course in the second round with a bogey-free, 6-under 66, Gabby Lemieux (Caldwell, Idaho) and Pauline Roussin-Bouchard (Brignoles, France). The Frenchwoman and 18-hole leader carded two double bogeys and seven birdies en route to a 2-under 70.
In her third appearance at Stage II, Lemieux is riding an emotional wave of momentum. Four years ago, her now-husband Jared who also caddies for her, proposed on Venice Beach.
“That makes it a little bit more comfortable just because it has always been a happy place,” Lemieux said after a 3-under 69 on the Panther Course which was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 16th. “I know that first year [in 2017] when he actually proposed, we ended up missed Final Stage by one, so that was a little tough. But ultimately, it has always been that happy place we can come back to and I couldn't ask for anything better than to be married to the guy that's on my bag.”
A group of four players are tied for fifth at 6-under overall including amateur and University of Houston junior Karen Fredgaard (Frederiksvaerk, Denmark). She has family in attendance, like many players this week, but having her dad Peter on the bag for the first time is what makes it a particularly special event for Fredgaard.
To be eligible for LPGA Q-Series from Nov. 29-Dec. 12 on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, a player must finish inside the top 45 plus ties and meet all criteria for LPGA Tour membership. A total of 44 players are 1-under or better at the halfway point of Stage II, while 62 players are even par or better.