Tale of two rounds
Leaders struggle on back-nine of unfinished second round
BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was a tale of two rounds Saturday for Northwestern’s Suchaya Tangkamolprasert and Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse.
The former began the day looking to trim her first-round, one-over par 73, which had landed her in a nine-player tie for 12th in the individual portion of the the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship.
The latter had thrown down Friday’s overall lowest individual score -- an opening four-under-par 68 -- even though The Cardinal was one of 12 teams who completed their first round Saturday morning due to Friday weather delays.
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Paired together for a second consecutive day, Tangkamolprasert and Stackhouse both were in position to post a significant second-round score.
The five Northwestern, Stanford and Baylor threesomes teed off on No. 10 for Saturday’s second round and Tangkamolprasert completed the first nine holes three strokes under par. Stackhouse hit the turn even.
The tough, slick, treacherous Concession Golf Club was lurking.
With four holes to play, Tangkamolprasert had dropped only one stroke, a bogey on the par-four No. 2. On the par-three No. 6, she hit Waterloo, literally, and double bogey. On the par-five No. 7, here came another double bogey. With two holes remaining, she’d lost four strokes and suddenly stared at the possibility of losing a few more on a course where pars are savored.
“I just went in the water -- hit a bad swing in the water on par three -- typical double,” Tangkamolprasert said. “And on the par five, I was in the left trees. Just a bad swing. So yeah, those two shots. Just those two really cost me a lot.”
“She just made a bad swing on six and you made a bad swing, she made double there,” said Northwestern head coach Emily Fletcher. “And on seven, seven’s playing tough. In the scoring for everybody, there have been some numbers on that hole and it’s tricky.”
Tangkamolprasert did minimize the damage, picking up pars on her final two holes -- the par-four Nos. 8 and 9. She ended Saturday with a team-leading, two-over-par 74, to go with Friday’s first-round 73. She’ll begin Sunday’s third round with a collective three-over-par 147.
Northwestern, which shot a 22-over-par 310 on Friday, good for a four-way tie for 15th in the team competition, improved that mark Saturday, carding a 13-over-par 301.
“You can’t just talk about what happened on six and seven,” Fletcher said of Tangkamolprasert’s effort. “You gotta give yourself credit for what you did on eight and nine. She righted the ship and could’ve sort of continued into a downward spiral.”
Stackhouse’s round spiraled worse on the back nine, beginning with two consecutive bogeys at the par-four Nos. 1 and 2. Suddenly two strokes over, she got one back with a birdie on the par-five No. 3, then par-ed the next three holes -- par-three No. 4, par-four No. 5 and par-three No. 6 -- before double-bogeying the par-five No. 7.
The fun began when her third shot found the bunker, and, per Stackhouse, not in a good spot. She said she couldn’t place both of her feet in the bunker on her escape shot, which limited her options.
“In retrospect, I guess if I had just played my second shot -- taken like an 8-iron or so and just played it out to the right -- I wouldn’t have been able to go for the green in three,” Stackhouse said. “But at least maybe I could’ve put it out somewhere and had a better opportunity for an up-and-down for par.”
“But instead I went for it, I tried to get it farther down the fairway than I should’ve. Ended up hitting the lip. I had a really bad lie on the third shot. Didn’t hit a good one. Almost ended up in the hazard. From the hazard, flew it over the green. That’s the kind of hole it was.”
Stackhouse par-ed the par-four No. 8, then negotiated another shot disaster on her final hole, triple-bogeying No. 9.
“I played with her when she was shooting 68 and today when she was shooting 78 and her game was really strong,” Tangkamolprasert said. “Really good and solid game, but these greens — a couple bad breaks, it happened to her, it happened to us. I wasn’t surprised. I think with this course, you just gotta stay in the present.
Like Tangkamolprasert’s Saturday downfall, Stackhouse’s could be traced to a few shots. She cited a mental study of Friday’s pin placements as a big reason she carded the lowest first-round score. With Stanford finishing the first round Saturday morning, then heading into the second round, Stackhouse said she didn’t have time to formulate her game plan.
“But honestly today, I had two just really silly holes,” she said. “I was five over on just two holes. If I just make those bogeys, then I’m only three over for the day which would’ve made a world of a difference. So it’s just really unfortunate that some of my bad decisions turned into really big numbers versus bogeys.”
Stackhouse’s six-over-par 78 on Saturday puts her at a two-over-par 146 heading into Sunday’s third round. As a team, Stanford plummeted in the standings. The Cardinal and defending national champion Duke had ended in a first-round tie for first, with both squads posting a 5-over-par 293. Stanford finished Saturday with a 35-over-par 323.
“The whole team, we struggled today so I’m pretty sure we’ll be out in the morning versus the afternoon,” Stackhouse said of Sunday’s third round. “Which might be kind of good. It gets pretty hot out here and pretty windy. But we were in a great place and know we’re not even inside the top 15 for Monday. So we definitely all have to come out and play a lot better golf tomorrow to just even make it to Monday.”