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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Two Different Ways... to Get It Done?

While much of the attention is on the major winners in the Top5 of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open, it's hard not to pull for the two yet-to-be-winners leading the event. Both came out in 2013.
  • Neither is a power player; both average between 255 and 260 off the tee. (I know, that sounds really long to some of you, but it puts them around 70-80 in the stats.)
  • One gets it done tee-to-green, the other on the green, but both are pretty good scorers. Both make lots of birdies and get into the 60s a lot.
  • And both have been oh-so-close this year.
In second place after two rounds is Marina Alex, who posted a T2 at the Founders Cup and a T5 at the Australian Open. She's the "tee-to-greener" of the pair and she's been in the mix of several events so far, even if she stumbled near the end.

Marina Alex

And in first place is Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya's big sister. She's got a T2 at the Thailand event, a T6 at the ANA and a 10 at the LOTTE, so she's on a bit of a roll. She's been the better putter of the two, and is Top4 in both eagles and birdies this season.

Moriya Jutanugarn

Even their approaches to the game seem to be opposites, according to the LPGA. For Marina, it's about breathing and self-talk:
“I'm way more aware when I'm kind of getting a little bit anxious, wound up. I kind of like am just, ‘Okay, this has happened so many times.’ Time to step back and not get myself into that place, into that head space. I'm managing it a lot better than my first few years on tour, so I think that's helped contribute to a little bit more consistent finishes.”
For Moriya, it's more a matter of patience:
“Just try and hit fairways and greens. That’s the key for this week. That’s what I try to do.”
What you'll hear most about are the chasers -- major winners So Yeon Ryu, Eun-Hee Ji and Inbee Park being the closest and most dangerous. Other past winners are close at their heels as well. And it's these chasers who are most likely to run down the leaders and steal their thunder.

But don't tell Moriya and Marina that. They really don't care. And I won't be surprised if one or the other finally gets a win this weekend. They're getting used to the lead and they don't seem nearly as shaken by the pressure.

Could be a fun battle for this inaugural tournament. And since I understand the winner will play with Mark Wahlberg in the event's pro-am next year, they just might have something on their minds besides the trophy. ;-)

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