John Niyo and Matt Charboneau preview the LPGA and PGA Champions events, which wrap up in Michigan today. The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Georgia Hall knows a little something about finishing first.
The 36th-ranked player in the world has gotten off to a rocky start during her first full season on the LGPA Tour, but in 2017 she topped the Order of Merit on the Ladies European Tour, capping a season that included winning two points for the European team at the Solheim Cup and finishing tied for third in the Women’s British Open.
Not bad for the 22-year-old native of Wimborne, England, who is once again a rookie despite 46 starts on the European Tour with 16 top-109 finishes.
Her 2-under 70 Friday during the second round of the Volvik Championship left her three off the pace set by Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, who shot a 4-under 68 and sits at 9-under for the tournament.
“It was pretty steady. I didn’t really do a lot wrong,” Hall said. “My long game was a lot better today even though I scored two less yesterday, but putting was, I was pretty steady, really. I mean, I had a silly bogey on No. 8, just a silly three-putt there (after) I had a wedge in. But I had some really good putts and I managed to hit some good approach shots in, so I’m happy for today.”
Hall feels she’s on the verge of breaking through for that first victory, one many expect is coming for the golfer who first made a name for herself at the 2013 ANA Inspiration when she played as a 16-year-old amateur.
She came close at last year’s Women’s British Open, playing in the last group before finishing in a tie for third.
This season started with a 13th-place finish at the Women’s Australian Open, followed by a 30th place in Thailand.
Since then, the consistency has been hard to find.
“I started the season quite good in Australia and had a few good events there,” Hall said.
“Then the last kind of three, four events, my long game’s really good, my results haven’t really shown it. My putting’s let me down big time but now I’m playing better, I feel like I can play like I did last year and hopefully this tournament’s proving that I can play well and be up there with the rest.”
Even if the putter continues to give her fits, Hall won’t be going anywhere soon.
“Yeah, you’ve got to be out here and it’s still kind of the first half of the season and I’m not panicking or anything,” Hall said.
“Like I said, my game’s there, it’s just my putting’s let me down. I had some good results to start the year, so yeah, you’ve just got to be patient and take it as it comes really.”
Feeling the love
While this year’s Volvik field isn’t as strong as the last two tournaments — some of that thanks to the U.S. Women’s Open moving to the week after this season — there is still plenty of love for Ann Arbor and Travis Pointe.
“It’s great,” said Jodi Ewart Shadoff. “I love this course, I love coming back here to Ann Arbor. The course really suits me. It’s playing long this year because it’s kind of wet and the greens are rolling really nice. I don’t know, I just seem to be putting well on these greens, so yeah, I love the course.”
How will Gaby Lopez spend her time away from the course?
“I’m going to get my nails done, for sure,” she said.
“That’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a couple weeks. You know, just relax, practice a little bit, and have fun with my caddie and one of my friends that’s staying with me.”
Close, but ...
There were some notable names who failed to make the cut, which was even-par 144.
Former U.S. Open champion Paula Creamer just missed at 1-over, her fourth missed cut in seven events this season. Also missing out were Nelly Korda (78-69—147), Jennifer Song (74-73—147), Chella Choi (75-74—149) and Laura Davies (74-76—150).
University of Michigan golfer Ashley Kim, who earned a sponsor’s exemption and is the only amateur in the field, shot a 9-over 81 on Friday to finish 20-over for two rounds.
… Two-time major champion Brittany Lincicome had a ho-hum day on Friday, recording pars on all 18 holes.