Olympic women's golf: Round 2 recap
Lewis' 63, the low round of the week, vaults her up the leaderboard
August 18, 2016
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Stacy Lewis from Team USA is making a move on Thursday. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO – News and notes from Thursday’s second round of the Olympic women’s golf tournament, with Korea’s Inbee Park leading at 10 under by one stroke over American Stacy Lewis.
IT HELPS TO BE ANGRY
American Stacy Lewis left the range Thursday morning and headed to the first tee. She was not happy. Her swing just wasn’t where she wanted it to be.
But while draining some early birdie putts, something clicked. Her hot putter had freed up concerns about the swing.
Then she got mad again. She found a bunker with her tee shot on the par-3 14th, then added to the misery by three-putting for a double bogey.
Then she got aggressive.
Birdies on her final four holes led to an 8-under 63, the lowest in the women’s tournament and equal to the low round shot by the men last week. The round included 11 birdies, which may or may not have been a career-best. (She wasn’t sure).
Lewis played mad, but she walked off the course very happy as the clubhouse leader at 9 under.
“Sometimes when I get mad, I get more focused – and that kind of happened today,” Lewis said. “… It got me more focused instead of going the opposite direction.”
So focused that Lewis didn’t even know where she stood on the leaderboard or what kind of round she was having. She just knew things were clicking and that the putter – other than at 14 – was on fire.
The last American to shoot 63 on the Olympic course was Matt Kuchar, who did it Sunday to win the bronze medal. Lewis is aiming for something similar. Make that higher.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” she said, “and still haven’t played my best golf yet.”
SISTERHOOD WORKING FOR CANADA
Canadian Brooke Henderson and her older sister, Brittany, have been spending a lot of time together in Rio.
In fact, they rarely have left each other’s side.
“We’d better not get into any arguments because we’re together 24/7,” Brooke said. “So far, so good.”
Hard to argue with what Brooke posted on Thursday – a 7-under 64 that moved her into a tie for third, two strokes behind leader Inbee Park.
Brooke credited the game plan her and Brittany put together in the ramp-up to the tournament for getting her into contention. It doesn’t hurt to also birdie the final four holes, which Brooke did Thursday.
Now the challenge will be to back up the 64 with another solid number Friday in order to set up a run for the gold medal in Saturday’s final round. That will require Brooke and Brittany to stay on the same page.
Shouldn’t be a problem.
“She’s my best friend, my sister,” Brooke said. “She happens to be my caddie as well. It works out really well.”
WHAT’S WRONG WITH NO. 1?
On Wednesday, Lydia Ko holed out from 136 yards for eagle at the par-4 15th. It would seem to be the perfect opportunity to finally announce her presence in this Olympic tournament.
Ko played 18 holes before posting another red number on a hole, with a birdie at that same 15th. Her 1-under 70 leaves her at 3 under for the tournament – seven strokes off the lead and in a tie for 22nd.
Not exactly the position anybody would have expected for the world’s top-ranked women’s player.
“The big key for me is to stay confident, focus on the shot I have in front of me, and at the end of the day, all I can do is try my best,” Ko said. “I feel like there's still a lot of golf to be played, and I feel like there's a lower number than what I've shot the last two days. Hopefully that's coming in the next two.”
She’ll need to improve on the front nine. She’s 2 over on that section through the first two rounds, even though it includes the two easiest holes on the course.
“When the girls are shooting low numbers, they are already shooting low numbers going to the back nine,” Ko said. “So when you're coming in with over par and you've got a very tough stretch of holes and you're trying to recover, stay in a safe zone and then trying to make up for those, it's hard.
“I've got to play the front nine a little better.”