Bennett the best as all six Aussies make WAAP weekend – Golf Australia Magazine
Starting the day in a share of second, one back of the lead of Liyana Durisic from Malaysia, Bennett immediately gave a shot back to par at the short par-4 1st hole.
“You don’t want to go right off the 1st tee,” she said of her tee shot that found the water and led to a bogey five that dropped her back to four-under for the tournament.
The New South Wales player mixed two birdies with another bogey at the par-4 9th, with her frustrations on the greens the clear difference from Thursday where she looked in cruise control making six birdies.
“Couldn’t really seem to pick my lines today, but that’s alright, another 36 to go,” Bennett said of her putting.
The 22-year-old’s back nine got off to a much better start after birdie at the uphill par-5 10th, but there was another bogey lurking at the par-3 16th, the hardest hole on the Waterside Course of Siam Country Club.
Bennett ultimately signing for an even par round of 72, her five-under total placing her in a share of fourth and four shots adrift of leader and defending champion Mizuki Hashimoto.
“Just keep doing what I was doing, stick to my processes. It worked the first day, just didn’t work today, but hopefully it comes off the next two days,” she said. “If I can walk away with my worst score being even, then I won’t complain.”
Next best of the Aussie contingent is a pair of teenagers, 18-year-old Justice Bosio and 15-year-old Sarah Hammett both succeeding in their goal of surviving the cutline, which fell at four-over par.
Hailing from the Gold Coast, Hammett’s day got off to a poor start like Bennett’s, but she bounced back from a bogey-par-double bogey opening to sign for a 72 and share of 17th on one-under.
“I didn’t start off the best, but then I kind of got it back and then a few putts dropped, a few missed, but yeah pretty happy with my round,” Hammett told Golf Australia magazine. “Start of the week I just wanted to make the cut, because playing against some of the best amateurs in the world. Excited to play on the weekend.”
Similarly excited about the remaining 36 holes, Bosio had her own struggles on Thursday, but hung in for a one-over round and T17 alongside Hammett.
“Just keep doing what I was doing, stick to my processes. It worked the first day, just didn’t work today, but hopefully it comes off the next two days.” – Kelsey Bennett.
“Couple more bogeys then the same amount of birdies, so didn’t really get too much happening. But hopefully a little bit better tomorrow,” she said. “Didn’t miss the cut. That’s pretty good, was hoping to make the cut this year, so pretty excited. First time here, so glad I can say I am playing on the weekend.”
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard will have been a little disappointed to not be in a similar position to her younger teammates after playing the front nine in one-under, including a stunning second shot from the fairway bunker on the 17th hole with a hybrid that had eyes for nothing but the flag.
But a missed short par putt at the 9th, her last hole of the day, signalled a second bogey on that side and one-over tournament total to be in joint 30th.
Among the pre-tournament favourites, Kirsten Rudgeley improved slightly on her opening 75, the West Australian shooting an even par 72 that included five birdies and five bogeys.
“Just the putter started working. Had some good numbers that back nine as well, which was good,” she said of her three-under front nine to close her second round that ensured she made the cut by just one stroke.
Having headed to the driving range with Australian team staff member Dean Kinney on Thursday to sort out her misbehaving driver, Rudgeley also had the coach fill in as caddie on Friday, whereas South Australian Caitlin Pierce is one of the only players in the field to go without a local looper.
As was the case on Thursday, Pierce had plenty of different numbers on her scorecard, including a four hole stretch of 6-2-5-3. She made the cut on the number and will need to keep the double bogeys from her card if she is move up the leaderboard.