Hataoka Leads After Two At The LPGA Volvik Championship

Hataoka Leads After Two At The LPGA Volvik Championship
Hataoka Leads After Two At The LPGA Volvik Championship

Hataoka Leads After Two At The LPGA Volvik Championship

Nasa Hataoka sits atop the leaderboard at the LPGA Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor after two rounds of play. Minjee Lee is just one back.

Hatoka had seven birdies to two bogeys for a four-under 68. She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation. Hatoka, who is from Japan, is in her second year on Tour. While she is looking for her first LPGA win,  Hatoka has gotten herself into position in recent weeks. In her last four starts, Hatoka finished T2 (Kingsmill Championship presented by GEICO), T7 (LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship), T19 (HUGEL-JTBC LA Open) and T19 (LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey).

Through a translator, Hatoka said that she tried to be aggressive:

I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to aggressive and then I make a lot of putts and, you know, I hit it great.

Minjee Lee hits her tee shot on the 17th enroute to second place after two rounds at the LPGA Volvik Championship.
Minjee Lee hits her tee shot on the 17th enroute to second place after two rounds at the LPGA Volvik Championship.

 

One shot behind Hataoka is Australia’s Minjee Lee. Lee was runner up in the 2017 edition of the LPGA Volvik Championship. Lee shot a 3-under 69 for a 36 hole score of 136 (8 under). On her round, Lee hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.  Lee is now 10 for 10 in cuts made this season, with five top tens. She finished second earlier this year at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.

Lee said that the course at Travis Pointe suited her:

The fairways are pretty generous but I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read.  As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you’re going to be in pretty good position around this golf course. I’ve been striking it pretty good coming into this week, so it’s been good.

In a tie for third are the trio of Gaby Lopez, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Lindy Duncan. All three are looking for their first LPGA victory.

Lopez shot a four under 68 on Friday, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. This is her third career start at the LPGA Volvik Championship. In 2016 she finished t11; in 2017, she settled for a t34.

Lopez was an early leader and said that her round

was a little bit of an up and down.  I started off with a birdie and then a couple mistakes in the middle of the round.  But, you know, there’s so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself.  I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did. But I had a lot of fun, my caddie and I had a lot of fun and I think that’s the key for success.

Shadoff shot a -2 on the day, ,hittting 11 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens. This is her third career start at the LPGA Volvik Championship. Previously she finished t30 (2017) and t27 (2016).

Shadoff is coming off a month’s layoff with a back injury. She was happy to play steadily, given the recovery.

I played really steady today, hit a lot of fairways and I’ve been holing a lot of nice putts over the last couple days, so yeah, it’s been good.  I haven’t played in a month, I’ve been out with a back injury, so it’s nice to come out after a little bit of time off and play well.

The course, and Ann Arbor, appeal to 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.

Lindy Duncan was 2-under on Friday, hitting 9 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. Her best career finish was at the 2019 Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, where she finished second. In spite of the scoring, Duncan said that she struggled throughout the round.

It was a little bit of a struggle.  I was kind of spraying it off the tee but just missing the fairway just like a little bit and kind of got some bad lies, so scrambled really well today.  Then had a couple opportunities on the front nine, took advantage of those, stayed pretty solid overall.

Duncan noted that she needed to drink more water during the day. That’s good advice for the spectators as well.

The leaders tee off Saturday after noon at the Travis Pointe Country Club just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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