Powered by eight birdies and one lone bogey, Jasmine and Clanton survived a day that saw the heat index soar in the triple digits and put themselves in prime position to become the first official team winners in LPGA Tour history.
“Today I think what we did was quite impressive just with our ball striking in general,” said Clanton, a graduate of Auburn University. “Jasmine's putting's on point. I think you've just got to look at it as it's just another opportunity to play and the more that you can think of the fact that it's just another day on the golf course, we're going to go out and try to do what we've been doing, the better it's going to be.”
With the competition returning to the foursomes format for Saturday’s final round, the duo knows that no lead is safe, even their five-stroke advantage.
“I can see that we play (foursomes) pretty good and I feel like tomorrow's going to be pretty fun day to see like how many opportunities we are going to get and how many birdies we are going to make,” said Jasmine, who won the 2018 Marathon Classic for her first LPGA Tour win. “We are just going to focus on that and play our own game and just try to find birdies tomorrow.”
Four teams are tied for second at -11 – Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn, Ruixin Liu and Simin Feng, Jenny Shin and Na Yeon Choi, and Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
WEATHER ADJUSTS SATURDAY SCHEDULE
Due to a storm system forecasted to affect the Great Lakes Bay region on Saturday afternoon, tee times for the final round of the 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will be adjusted to 7 a.m. to 8:57 a.m., with teams teeing off the first and 10th tees. Gates will open to the public at 7 a.m. with an estimated finish time of 2:15 p.m., depending on weather conditions.
JUTANUGARN SISTERS GO LOW
The sister duo of Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn started the day five strokes off the lead in a tie for 23rd. After a bogey-free 64 on Saturday, the Jutanugarns are still five strokes off the lead, but this time in a tie for second with five other teams. Younger sister Ariya particularly enjoyed this second day of foursomes play after having the opportunity settle into the format in Wednesday’s first round.
“I felt like in the first round, I don't want to miss any shot because I don't want my sister to have like tough shot and I was kind of worried and scared,” said Ariya Jutanugarn. “Today we already make the cut and nothing to lose, so we keep playing golf.”
Moriya Jutanugarn agreed with her sister, saying, “It's so hard to find momentum of two players, like two together. And, you know, it's just like today is better because you have play, you know, foursome in the first round already and you kind of feel like more relaxed.”
The Korda sisters have combined for seven LPGA Tour victories (five for Jessica and two for Nelly), while the Jutanugarns have 11 wins between them (10 for Ariya and one for Moriya). Only two other sets of sisters have both won on the LPGA Tour – Annika Sorenstam (72 wins) and Charlotta Sorenstam (one win), and Jessica Korda (five wins) and Nelly Korda (two wins) – while 10 total sets of sisters have played on Tour.
LIU AND FENG MAKING THE MOST OF DOW GLBI
Riuxin Liu and Simin Feng, aka Team Dumpling, stormed out of the gate yesterday at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, posting an 8-under four-ball round to sit comfortably at T10 going into the third day. After switching back to foursomes, the duo stayed consistent and finished today tied for second at -11.
“I think it's just after the best ball you kind of has like certain expectations since it's like 8-under round for us yesterday and today we know a different perspective. So you just try to be patient when you're not making birdies, so I think that helps us a lot,” said Liu.
Yesterday, the partners said their strategy for today was to go with the flow. “We said we're not going to expect a lot out of this round,” said Feng. “But I think as much as we were expecting, we got a lot more out of that than what we were expecting.”
The friends are both searching for their first win on the LPGA Tour. Feng’s career-best finish is T6 from the 2016 COATES Golf Championship. Liu, a 2019 rookie, remembers the feeling of being in the winner’s circle from her recent Symetra Tour experience. She finished first in the Volvik Race to the Card in 2018 with three wins, and became the sixth person in Symetra Tour history to surpass $100,000 in single-season earnings ($124,839). She said being close to the top is a definite confidence boost for Team Dumpling.
“It will be a really huge honor to be in contention, so I will just try to be patient and be myself and play my game and don't think about anything else,” said Liu.
SHIN AND CHOI ARE IN SYNC HEADING INTO FINAL ROUND
On Friday at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, “Team Insynch” of Na Yeon Choi and Jenny Shin improved in the foursomes format, posting a 3-under round with just one bogey. Choi was pleased they were able to make a move up the leaderboard at Midland Country Club as they enter the final round tied for second.
“I think even on Wednesday we did a great job,” said Choi, a major champion at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. “The only one thing that we made one or two bogeys, I think two bogeys on Wednesday from three-putts, both three-putts. So that wasn't like I felt something I left on the course after the first round. But today even we had one bogey, but we made a lot of save, like par save. So I think we both did a really good job.”
The pair from the Republic of Korea will enter the final four-ball round on Saturday five shots back of leaders Jasmine Suwannapura and Cydney Clanton. Shin is looking for her second career LPGA victory on Saturday and first since 2016, while Choi is looking for her 10th career LPGA win and first since 2015.
While Shin would love to hoist the trophy along with her good friend and partner, she’s focused on a good finish in the four-ball format where they fired a 64 during the second round four-ball.
“We would really, really have to step up our game tomorrow, but if we finish in the top-5, I think we'll be still happy with it because that's a regular top-10 in a regular tournament and that's a $2 million purse,” Shin said. “So, you know, my objective right now is to get in the Scottish Open and Asia and everything in the near future. You know, that's our goal. We're just going to do everything we possibly can to go for the win tomorrow.”
WITH A WIN…
Na Yeon Choi, Cydney Clanton, Simin Feng or Ruixin Liu would earn a spot in the Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open
Paula Creamer would earn a spot in the AIG Women’s British Open, a tournament she has not missed since she became an LPGA Member in 2005
Clanton, Liu or Feng would become the fifth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2019 season
Jasmine Suwannapura or Moriya Jutanugarn would join Ariya Jutanugarn as the only Thai players with more than one LPGA Tour victory
Creamer would earn her first LPGA win since the 2014 HSBC Women’s World Championship, while Morgan Pressel would earn her first win since the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic
The second and final reshuffle of the 2019 LPGA Tour season will happen after the conclusion of this week’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
Category 8 on the LPGA Priority List comprises members in the Top 80 of the current year’s Money List with priority based on the order of the list. In addition, Members in Categories 13 through 19 who have earned official money will be re-seeded into Category 13 and ranked in the order of their position on the current year's Money List through the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
A link to the current LPGA Priority List: http://bit.ly/Priority19
Rolex Rankings No. 106 Jasmine Suwannapura and No. 268 Cydney Clanton (67-64-63)
Rolex Rankings No. 6 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 26 Moriya Jutanugarn (70-65-64)
Rolex Rankings No. 282 Ruixin Liu and No. 660 Simin Feng (70-62-67)
Rolex Rankings No. 46 Jenny Shin and No. 396 Na Yeon Choi (68-64-67)
Rolex Rankings No. 157 Paula Creamer and No. 88 Morgan Pressel (66-64-69)
DOW GREAT LAKES BAY INVITATIONAL FORMAT
The tournament is a 72-hole, stroke-play team event with teams comprised of two players. The first and third rounds will be played in foursomes (alternate shot) and the second and final rounds will be played in a four-ball (best-ball) format. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties.
In the event of a playoff, the champions will be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff in the foursomes format.
Each LPGA Member on the winning team will receive the standard two-year winner’s exemption on the LPGA Priority List. Winners will also get into the 2019 Evian Championship, 2019 AIG Women’s British Open, 2020 ANA Inspiration and 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. CME points and prize money will be official for the purposes of the current-year LPGA Official Money List and Race to the CME Globe Standings. Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Rolex Player of the Year, Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and U.S. Solheim Cup points will not be allocated, and statistics will not be calculated.