HAMMOND, Ind., June 9, 2007 – Kim Brozer held on to the lead outright in today’s second round of the $75,000 United States Steel Golf Classic, but even the Canadian admits that her position is tenuous, at best.
“I like where I am, but there’s no telling what will happen out here on Sunday,” said Brozer of Red Deer, Alberta, who carded her second round of 71 to lead at 142 (-2). “No lead is safe.”
But even as Lost Marsh Golf Course’s greens played firm and fast, spitting out more approach shots than seeds at a watermelon festival, Brozer used experience and stayed patient when the frustration level around the course seemed to be mounting. Lost Marsh’s greens measured 11.6 on the Stimp meter this morning.
“The key is not to make a big mistake or a lot of mistakes,” said Brozer, a non-exempt LPGA Tour member who won the Duramed FUTURES Tour’s 2005 tournament in Syracuse, N.Y. “I was pretty consistent and I made some putts when I needed to make them.”
Brozer rolled in four birdies and carded three bogeys for her round, with a four-foot par save on the fifth hole and a 12-foot save on the 18th. Her wedges worked in the clutch and her short game displayed poise under pressure, but it was Brozer’s mental approach that kept her in the lead all day.
“I started out bogey-bogey in the first round, but then all you have to do is look around and see that everybody else is having trouble holding greens and you just tell yourself to calm down,” she said.
Brandi Jackson of Greenville, S.C., looked as if she were going backwards when she recorded bogeys on the first, third and seventh holes. But like Brozer, the former Furman University All-American gave herself a little pep talk for the back nine holes.
“I got off to a bad start, but I just hung in there,” said Jackson, who finished tied for second last week at the Tour’s Wisconsin tournament, moving into second here this week with two rounds of even-par 72 to stand alone at 144. “Pars are good scores on that front nine because the greens are so hard. If you miss the fairway on some of those holes, you’re just dead.”
But Jackson was looking pretty convincingly alive in today’s second round. Her putter was AWOL with 33 putts, but the South Carolinian hit 15 greens and 11 of 13 fairways in regulation. And she replaced her three front-nine bogeys with a matching three back-nine birdies for her level-par position in the tournament.
“If I could learn how to play the front side, I’d be tearing this thing up,” said Jackson. “I had a lot of good birdie putts that just wouldn’t fall. Maybe they will fall tomorrow.”
Another Canadian, Salimah Mussani (73) of Burlington, Ontario, made a move early with a four-under-par performance on her first nine holes, but two bogeys and a triple on her second nine ended that roll.
“It was fun for a while,” said Mussani, who dropped into a tie for 19th at 150 (+6).
Tour veteran Audra Burks (71) of Altamonte Springs, Fla., 2007 tournament winner Emily Bastel (73) of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and fourth-year professional Yoora Kim (74) of Seoul, Korea, all moved into a tie for third at 146 (+2). Eight players, including 2007 tournament winner Allison Fouch (76) of Grand Rapids, Mich., are tied for sixth at 148 (+4).
And while first-round co-leader Angela Buzminski (82) fell out of the lead after a day that rendered no birdies, six bogeys and a pair of doubles – dropping into a tie for 36th at 153 (+9) – she called Sunday’s final round a real “crapshoot.”
“For our first five or six holes today, it was like we were playing Shinnecock,” said Buzminski, of Oshawa, Ontario. “The greens were wind-whipped and water-starved and nothing was holding. So anything really can happen on Sunday.”
Seventy-six players made the 36-hole cut at 157 (+13).
Sunday’s final round of the United States Steel Golf Classic will begin at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at 12:10 p.m., Central Daylight Time.
For scores and more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high temperature of 79 degrees and winds at 12 mph.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (219) 932-1194 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Bradley Photography