Stacy Prammanasudh, pictured, shot a 68 yesterday for a two-shot lead over Morgan Pressel at the Fields Open in Hawaii.
Prammanasudh leads drenched Fields Open
With much of the field on the course at day's end, the Tulsa alum is the clubhouse leader
Stacy Prammanasudh and Morgan Pressel had just completed their second rounds when the heavens opened up and dumped a month's worth of rain in about an hour, forcing a 181-minute delay of the $1.2 million Fields Open in Hawaii.
By the time the water drained off the Ko Olina Resort course late yesterday afternoon, it was evident that the second round wouldn't be done until today, leaving a tight schedule if the second event of the LPGA Tour season is to be completed by evening's end.
Prammanasudh fired a 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Morgan Pressel, who had the day's best 18 at 7-under 65. Pressel's round could have been even better had the 18-year-old converted all her opportunities.
As it was, a missed birdie putt at the 18th (her ninth) from 8 feet kept Pressel from shooting a 29 on her opening nine, a fact she wasn't aware of as the ball swept just right of the cup. This is the second event in as many weeks that Pressel has put herself in position to win her first LPGA event.
At last week's SBS Open, she began the final round tied for the lead with Sherri Steinhauer and eventual winner Paula Creamer, only to shoot a disappointing 74 to fall into a tie for fourth.
Prammanasudh won her first tournament in 2005 and is still looking for her second, a fact that forced the decision to retire her father, the only coach she has ever had, and hire formal instructor Bill Harmon. After only a handful of lessons, Prammanasudh has responded well to his pointers.
She finished tied for eighth last week at the SBS Open and is in position to win for the second time since she turned pro in 2003. Her main competition might not even be Pressel at the start of the third round. At day's end yesterday, Jee Young Lee and Angela Park were moving up the leaderboard.
The greens were soft and the wind was low after play resumed at 4:19 p.m. Lee birdied five of her first six holes to move to 8 under for the tournament after 13 holes to draw even with Pressel.
"I was hitting my driver a lot farther and straighter than I normally do," Lee said. "My iron shots were perfect and I was able to put the ball close to the hole and give myself birdie chances. My putting was perfect, too. So all three worked out for me."
Park, who shared the first-round lead with Prammanasudh, was 9 under for the tournament through nine holes yesterday and could conceivably pass Prammanasudh by the start of the third round.
"Obviously, this is a brand-new thing for me," Park said. "I've never been in this position. I'm just going to go out there and every shot try my best. That's all I can really do."
Prammanasudh's day didn't go as smoothly as her first. After she shot a 4-under 68 for a two-day total of 134, the former Tulsa standout waited out the rain, then spent most of the afternoon working on her short game.
"Today was definitely not a great day out there," Prammanasudh said. "I managed to make some birdies when I could, but I had a couple of rocky holes as well. It was just kind of up and down. I hit it really close coming in and didn't capitalize on some short birdie putts, so it was a little bit frustrating."
Pressel could feel Prammanasudh's pain. Even with a 7-under 65, Pressel found fault with her play. She closed with a birdie at the last, getting a good look on Natalie Gulbis' missed par putt, to read the right-to-left breaker from 6 feet perfectly for birdie.
"For the most part today I played great," Pressel said. "I played really well. I hit the ball solidly and looking back, 7 under is probably one of the highest scores -- probably almost the worst I could have done today. I missed three putts for birdie inside of 10 feet and I just had really a ton of chances, which is nice for once."
Park was pleased with her rain-shortened round as well and believes she is ready for the 27-hole adventure awaiting her today. She will be back on the course at 7:30 a.m., finish around 10 and then have to wait about 3 hours before teeing off for the final round.
The 18-year-old tour rookie is reading a book ("Golf is not a Perfect Game") that has helped her deal with being in the lead and how to play after a rain delay. She won five events as a junior golfer and competed in 16 events last year on the Futures Tour, where her best finish was a tie for third.
"I was reading it last night and it has helped me a lot this week," Park said. "I was on the section where it's like pressure and stuff like that, what I'm dealing with right now. It was the exact timing and the exact book I had to read. And whenever I'm on the course, I'm thinking what he wrote and what he said to think about on the course, which has helped me a lot.
"I've played a lot of tournaments where there were rain delays and I always tended to do bad after the rain delay. So I try to focus myself and concentrate on golf and not think about, 'Oh, there's a rain delay, oh my gosh, like what's going to happen with the course.' Because that's what I usually did, so I've learned from my past experience, which is good."
If the weather cooperates, the final round should begin around lunch. The projected cut is 1-over 145. At this point, amateur Kimberly Kim won't make it. She shot a 1-over 73 yesterday to finish at 3-over 147. The former Big Island resident, who lives in Arizona with her mother, will return to the mainland tomorrow.
Former UH golfer Cindy Rarick didn't fare as well yesterday. After opening with a 1-under 69 on Thursday, she was 3-over through 10 holes and in danger of missing the cut. The 47-year-old is not a full-exempt player. She competed in only 13 events last year, making the cut in five.