Spieth Takes Control With Second-Round 69 at The PING Invitational
Kyung Kim maintains slim one-shot lead in Girls Division at Karsten Creek
STILLWATER, Okla. — Jordan Spieth of Dallas notched five straight birdies during his second consecutive round of 69 at Karsten Creek, which has given him an seven-shot advantage heading into Monday's final round at The PING Invitational. First-round leader Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., carded a 74 Sunday and her 3-under-par total is one shot clear of the Girls Division field.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The PING Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. The 72-player field features players from 19 states, Canada, the Philippines and Thailand. The Boys Division is playing Karsten Creek at 7,379 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 6,306 yards. During Sunday's second round, three weather delays suspended play for a total of 2 ˝ hours.
Spieth was able to build a big lead despite getting off to a slow start. He bogeyed the par-3 third hole and was two shots behind Yi Keun Chang, who was 4-under-par after making birdies on Nos. 1 and 3. But birdies on six of his next 10 holes, including five in a row on Nos. 9-13, catapulted Spieth to the top of the leaderboard.
“Before that, I was just playing consistently,” said Spieth, who won The PING Invitational in 2008. “I had some wedges in my hand and I wanted to fire at some pins. At Karsten Creek, that could mean birdies or that could mean bogeys or doubles. I was very fortunate that they landed in the right spots and I got the putts to drop.”
After the bogey on No. 3, the only blemish on Spieth's scorecard was a double bogey on No. 16. But after losing his tee shot, Spieth was happy to make his 12-footer for double bogey because it “stopped the bleeding.” Pars on Nos. 17 and 18 put him at 6-under-par through 36 holes.
“It's nice to have a little cushion tomorrow, but then again it's Karsten Creek, so my lead doesn't mean anything,” Spieth said. “I want to set my own goals and shoot under-par again tomorrow.”
Last year's champion, Emiliano Grillo of Bradenton, Fla., is in second at 1-over-par after carding an even-par 72 on Sunday. Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., improved 10 positions and is in third at 2-over-par after a second-round 71. Three players are tied for fourth at 3-over-par: Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y.; Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla.; and Yi Keun Chang of Diamond Bar, Calif.
In the Girls Division, Kyung Kim started her second round right where she left off Saturday. Birdies on Nos. 3 and 5 put her at 7-under-par for the tournament, but that's as low as she was able to go. She finished with a second-round 74 but is still in the lead at 3-under-par.
“The course was playing a lot harder today because it was windier, so that made club selections hard,” Kim said. “My confidence level is pretty high, but it's not often that I lead after a couple days, so I'm actually kind of nervous. I just hope that I'm able to hit good shots tomorrow.”
Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, sisters from Bangkok, Thailand, will join Kim in Monday's final pairing after each recorded even-par rounds of 72. Moriya is second at 2-under-par, while Ariya is third at 1-under-par. Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., fired a 2-under-par 70, the day's best round in the Girls Division, and is tied for fourth with Shannon Aubert of Orlando, Fla., at even-par.
This week's tournament title partner, PING, designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim's youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pinggolf.com.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times run 7:30 — 9:40 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Karsten Creek. For more information on The PING Invitational, please contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (405) 533-8190.