Rookie Miram Lee may have the 36-hole lead at the JTBC Founders Cup, but Lydia Ko continues to be the story. Lee shot an opening round 64 on the Wildfire Golf Club at the Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona and followed that Friday with a solid 5-under to get to 13-under.
Lydia Ko came into Friday at 5-under and couldn’t really get anything going through 11 holes: she birdied 2, bogeyed 9 and failed to birdie the par-5 11th which she did on Thursday.
I didn’t really hit it as close. 11, I had like a 12‑foot putt, and then, you know, it was all within that kind of a range on every hole, a really long one.
So those kind of putts, some of them dropped, birdies, you don’t expect to hole everything, but a couple at a time is good.
And then it started raining birdies with an eagle thrown in for good measure. She birdies 12 and 13, eagled 15 and then finished her 6-under 66 with birdies on 16 and 17. The good ones are able to go from nothin’ to somethin’ seemingly in the snap of a finger:
Got in that birdie rhythm, birdied 12 and 13. And then I made par and then I made eagle. And I think [Jessica Korda’s] chip‑in birdie, it kind of inspired me to make an eagle myself. I was like, oh, I need to beat her, that kind of feeling. And Inbee made eagle, too, so 5‑under total for our group on that hole was pretty good.
On Thursday she confessed that the reason she hit her final drive into the hazard was because she had neglected to bring enough food. Friday she was asked if she had taken care of that problem:
Yeah, I did. I was munching away.
Here she tells us what she ended up packing…and confesses that she did, indeed, have enough food in the bag on Thursday, she just didn’t find it all:
I had a protein bar and like a protein jelly, and there’s always peanut butter sandwich in there. I actually noticed that it was in my bag yesterday, but I didn’t find it, so it was actually more done.
All of these comments were made with her perpetual smile on her face and good cheer that’s infectious. You talk to her and you walk away feeling good.
And that’s why Lydia Ko continues to be the story at the JTBC Founders Cup.
But she can’t relax. One stroke back is Sun Young Yoo, winner of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco, followed by four players at 9-under who aren’t there by accident: Chella Choi, Jessica Korda, So Yeon Ryu (winner of the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open) and, of course, World No. 1, Inbee Park.
And behind them, any number of players who could suddenly go very low.
With temperatures getting to the low 80s, gentle winds and partly cloudy skies to keep it a little cooler, it’ll be a good day for it.