5 Things: Wagner continues to lead at Junior PGA
POTOMAC FALLS, Va. – Rain was supposed to move in for the second round of the Junior PGA Championship, but the girls stayed dry on Wednesday afternoon as the classes of 2015 and 2016 dominated the top of the leaderboard.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from the girls division from Trump National Golf Club.
1. FINISHING STRONG: Samantha Wagner remains the leader in the girls division of the Junior PGA Championship after an even-par 71. She dropped a 30-foot bomb for birdie at No. 18 to get back to 4 under for the tournament.
It was the first putt she made all day as she struggled mightily with her putting.
“I gave myself a bunch of birdie opportunities that I just couldn’t make and they just rolled over the edge,” she said.
When she made bogeys, she put herself in really difficult positions where she couldn’t even try to make par.
Although she’s played a different tournament each of the past four weeks (AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, Wydham Cup, U.S. Girls’ Junior and now Junior PGA), she insists she’s not mentally or physically tired.
“I’m just trying to have some fun,” Wagner said. “Wherever I put myself (on the course), I just try and figure a way out of it.”
Wagner is looking for her first victory since she won the 2012 AJGA Exide Technologies Junior Open.
“Birdieing 18 gives me a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow,” she added.
She’ll take a one-shot lead into the third round.
2. LIKING HER POSITION: Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, shot a 2-under 69 during the second round of the Junior PGA and is one back of 36-hole leader Wagner.
Gillman, No. 41 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings, excels on difficult courses like Trump National and last week’s Sycamore Hills.
She said she thought Wednesday’s course setup was a little easier than in the first round.
“It was a bit drier so you got more roll out there,” Gillman said.
Gillman likes the position she’s in. She’ll play in the final group on Thursday, and has experience in that situation after winning the AJGA Genesis Shootout at the beginning of July.
“I’m going to worry about myself and just have fun,” she said.
3. CONSISTENT CARLSON: Abbey Carlson, a fiery red head, played very consistent golf in Wednesday’s third round. Carlson fired a 2-under 69 for a 2-under 140 tournament total. She is two shots off the lead, and tied with Megan Khang.
Carlson made something happen at Nos. 4-7.
She chipped in on No. 4 to kick-start her round even though she bogeyed the next hole after putting herself in a difficult position off the tee. Then Carlson bounced back with birdies at Nos. 6 and 7. Then it was "just fairways and greens" the rest of the way as she made 11 consecutive pars. She leads the field with 33 pars.
“I love the look of this course,” Carlson said. “It’s kind of a links style course… I love it.”
She knows she’ll need to go low over the next two days to have any chance to claim victory.
“I prefer to be behind, and just kind of hang out until the end,” Carlson said. “It’s the feeling of not having to protect anything. I just have to go out and play my game.”
4. FOCUSING IN: Mariel Galdiano did not get off to the start she wanted. She bogeyed her second and fifth holes (Nos. 12 and 16).
“My Dad left after that so there was no pressure for me,” Galdiano said.
Instead of getting down on herself, she eagled No. 2 and her finishing hole, No. 10, to finish with a 2-under 69. Galdiano is tied for fifth with Amy Lee at 1-under 141.
Galdiano of Pearl City, Hawaii, has plenty of experience at the next level as she has played in two U.S. Women’s Opens (2013 and 2011).
“I learned how to focus like the LPGA players. Playing under all that pressure, and still being able to play well,” Galdiano said.
She hopes it will pay off over the next two rounds.
SHORT SHOTS: Trump National GC (Washington D.C.) played almost a full stroke lower in Round 2 than in Round 1 . . . No player made eagle in the first round, but there were three eagles in the second round. . . . Bethany Wu had gotten to 3 under through 10 holes, but made three bogeys coming in for an even-par 71. She is 2 over for the tournament. . . . The low round of the day was 68, carded by Kelly Whaley (T-7), Gigi Stoll (T-7) and Isabella DiLisio (T-12).