LEAWOOD, Kan., May 19, 2007 – Liz Janangelo’s dad noticed something different in his daughter as he watched her play the first two rounds this week. John Janangelo had made the trip to Kansas from Connecticut to spend the week with his daughter and observed that she carried herself differently than from the start of the season.
“He said he’s seen such an improvement in my game since the first tournament and he says I carry myself differently, more professionally,” said the daughter.
Maybe that’s because his daughter already has three top-10 finishes, including one win under her belt after six events this season. And maybe that’s because she’s poised to win a second title this week at the $80,000 Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship.
Janangelo fought her way to an even-par round of 71 today to move into the lead after 36 holes at 141 (-1) on the tough-playing Leawood South Country Club course. With the rough up, the fairways narrowed and the greens firming up, the venue at this year’s inaugural event was playing like a U.S. Women’s Open qualifying site. The deceptively long 6,277-yard course tested every club, every swing and every last ounce of patience players possessed.
“In order to be successful on this course, you have to be patient,” said Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn. “Everybody’s going to get some bad breaks and anything can happen.”
And for two rounds on the toughest golf course the Duramed FUTURES Tour has played all season, players struggled to avoid the rough and to hold their shots on the greens. By the end of today’s round, only Janangelo was under par. Fellow New Englander Kim Augusta of Rumford, R.I., carded a three-over-par score of 74 today to fall into second place at 144 (+2).
Janangelo recorded four birdies and four bogeys and saved par three times – once from 10 feet and once from 12 feet. She hit only 12 greens, but rolled in 27 putts.
“I’m putting better than I ever have,” said Janangelo, a former All-American at Duke University. “It’s nice to see it come together.”
A group of five players are tied for third at 145 (+3). Sin Ah Ham (69) of Torrance, Calif., Jana Peterkova (70) of Czech Republic, Vikki Laing (74) of Musselburg, Scotland, Ji Min Jeong (74) of Kyungki, Korea and Emily Bastel (75) of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, all will be chasing the leader on Sunday. Bastel won earlier this year in McAllen, Texas and Jeong was a two-time winner in 2006.
“Yesterday and today, my putting and chipping saved me,” said Jeong, who used 25 putts. “You have to control the driver and the greens are bouncy, so you have to find the perfect yardage to stay on the green.”
Jeong’s round featured two birdies, two double-bogeys and one bogey – prompting her to say that she “wasted two strokes” with the two doubles. Bogeys, she admitted, were inevitable.
Ham was the only player to shoot a score in the 60s in two rounds. The rookie got off to a fast start when she carded an eagle-3 on the par-five first hole and a birdie on the second. She finished the day with four birdies, two bogeys, one double-bogey and the eagle.
Peterkova had the day’s top roller-coaster round with pars on only five holes and either birdies (seven) or bogeys (six) on the rest of the holes. The Czech played the course’s three par-five holes at three under and managed to finish under par in spite of three three-putt greens.
“The greens don’t hold and you have to hit it in front and let the ball roll on,” she said. “It’s really difficult to put it close to the hole.”
Laing, a former Curtis Cup player from the Great Britain and Ireland team, showed extreme patience on a day that produced 28 putts in spite of – again -- three three-putt greens. By day’s end, she got up and down for par seven times in eight attempts.
“I got up and down from everywhere,” said the Scot. “The whole thing this week is the rough. It’s going to punish you if you’re in there, but the greens are pure. The course is tough, but it’s fair.”
Sunday’s final round will be the final test in the hearty Kansas thatch. To win on such a demanding tract likely will earn an extra nod of accomplishment for the champion by every player who swung a club on the abundant turf of Leawood South.
“Nobody knows about tomorrow,” said Jeong, heading back to the practice range at the end of the day with a driver in her hand.
Seventy players made the 36-hole cut at 156 (+14).
Presented by Zurich, Sunday’s final round of the Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship will begin at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at 11:50 a.m.
For scores and more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high temperature of 76 degrees with wind around 10 mph., gusting to 22 mph
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (913) 338-1272 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Bradley Photography