SYRACUSE, N.Y., July 21, 2007
Reno carded a second-round score of 68 to coast into the lead at 138 (-4), two shots ahead of Ji Min Jeong (65) of Kyungki, Korea and Ha Na Chae (69) of Seoul, Korea, who are tied at 140 (-2).
“It was a good day and I’m real excited for tomorrow,” said Reno of Grosse Ile, Mich. “Last night and going into today’s round, I just kept thinking, ‘I can do this.’ I haven’t been in the last group on Sunday for a year or two, but I’m ready.”
Wearing pearls, a long-sleeve striped Polo shirt, flowered shorts, red golf shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses and black Goth-style fingernail polish, Reno looks as if she could lead a band. Instead, she led the field today at The Links at Erie Village in the low-key way that only Reno can do. Unflappable and non-traditional in every sense, the former University of Michigan collegian showed the same kind of under-the-radar competitiveness that allowed her to beat Julieta Granada for her first Tour victory in 2005.
“I was calm the whole time today,” said Reno, a self-described Jimmy Buffet Parrot-head who uses another player’s carry bag that bears the stitched name of Sam White. “I’m a little laid back and I do a lot of yoga. My [golf] coach says I need to stop doing that or at least figure out how to get more pumped up out there.”
And while it didn’t show, Reno was as pumped as Reno gets when she birdied the first three holes from 15 feet, one foot and eight feet, respectively. She missed a birdie chance on No. 4, “over-read” her putt for bogey on No. 6, then saved par three times from around 15 feet on holes 7, 8 and 9.
“Those three saves were better than the birdies on 1, 2 and 3,” said Reno, who rolled in her final birdie from two feet on the 18th hole.
After a soggy, rainy and difficult first round, today’s clear-blue skies offered a vast contrast to Friday’s slog-fest. The 6,206-yard, par-71 course was soft with accessible greens and offered what Reno called “150 percent perfect scoring conditions.”
Jeong and Kelly Cavanaugh of Palos Verdes, Calif., took advantage of the perfect conditions. Jeong improved her second round by 10 shots to charge into a share of second place.
Cavanaugh rallied for an 11-shot improvement in today’s round, converting her 76 on Friday into a 65 today. Cavanaugh is now tied for third at 141 (-1) with Violeta Retamoza (66) of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Alissa Kuczka (71) of Phoenix, Onnarin Sattayabanphot (71) of Bangkok, Thailand and Brandi Jackson (71) of Greenville, S.C. A total of 16 players scored in the 60s today, compared to no players scoring in the 60s and only seven players breaking par in Friday’s rainy round.
“Today was perfect weather and the greens were holding up, so I could be more aggressive,” said Jeong, who hit 15 greens in regulation and rolled in 28 putts en route to her six-under-par 65 today. “I knew before we started that I needed to go low.”
Jeong, a two-time winner last year, wrestled with her putter on her first nine holes, carding one birdie and one bogey. But after she made the turn to the front nine, that little wrestling match changed quickly. Jeong drained a pair of 20-foot birdies on holes 1 and 2, and then reeled off four straight birdies from between 10-12 feet on holes 6, 7, 8 and 9.
“I’ve been looking for those rounds in the 60s,” said Jeong, smiling. “Finally, today.”
The tournament’s defending champion, Chae credited her iron play in today’s second round. She hit 11 greens in regulation and said she played cautiously, waiting for birdie opportunities.
“I feel comfortable here,” said Chae, who will play in the final Sunday pairing with Jeong and Reno. “My playing style fits this course. “It’s pretty exciting to have won here last year and to have a chance to win again this year.”
Eighty-four players made the 36-hole cut at 150 (+8).
The final round of this week’s 54-hole event will begin Sunday at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at 12:03 p.m.
For scores and more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Weather: Mostly sunny and clear with a high temperature of 77 degrees. Winds around 13 mph, gusting up to 21 mph.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (315) 656-7922 and at email@example.com.