Mar 6th, 2021
Ernst and Kupcho share Drive On Championship lead
American duo locked together at the top in Florida
Photography: Getty Images
While Kupcho managed a bogey-free performance in round one, Ernst was the one to produce the flawless round on day two in Marion County.
“Fairways were a little more bouncy this afternoon so had a few more wedges in,” said Ernst, who hit fifteen greens in regulation.
“With how firm the greens are, you really have to take advantage if you get quite a few wedge opportunities. I have driven it well, too.”
Kupcho who had just a solitary bogey on her card, was grateful a migraine did not rear its ugly head as it had on day one and that she made it around pain-free on Friday.
“Felt a lot better today. Yesterday was pretty rough,” said Kupcho, who recorded six birdies in her round.
“I’ve been in contention out here before, so just go out, relax and have fun. I think especially with my new caddie [Patrick Smith] this year we do a good job of having fun and relaxing. I think it’ll be a fun weekend.”
Carlota Ciganda was out in the morning and fired the round of the day with a bogey-free, seven-under-par 65. It is no coincidence that she is finding success with a familiar face back on the bag in Terry McNamara, the long-time caddie for LPGA Tour legend and World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam.
“We had a great four years together and with COVID last year, I think he wanted to take a little break,” said Ciganda, who is eight-under overall two back from the leaders.
“I always enjoy working with him. He’s very peaceful, experienced, very calm. That is what I need on the course.”
Last week’s Gainbridge LPGA champion Nelly Korda is solo fourth at seven-under following a steady two-under-par 70 on day two. Rounding out the top-five is 2019 Symetra Tour graduate Jenny Coleman. The University of Colorado alumna carded a three-under 69 to to sit at five-under overall.
“The biggest part of this golf course is the greens,” Korda said.
“There have been lower scores in the morning because they’re fresh and they do get bumpy in the afternoon. Greens are playing a big part in the scores, so just going to stay positive. Everyone is going to be playing through weather [tomorrow].”
Five players are tied for sixth at four-under including 2020/21 LPGA Tour rookies Patty Tavatanakit and Leona Maguire. A total of 71 players made the cut of +2 including the LPGA Drive On Championship—Inverness winner Danielle Kang (-2) and the LPGA Drive On Championship—Reynolds Lake Oconee champion Ally Ewing (E).
Bronte Law leads the British contingent on one-under with Mel Reid on level-par and Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies on one-over. Georgia Hall squeezed in on the cut mark of two-over following a two-under 72.