Date: April 05, 2019
Author: Justin Falconer

Best yet to come for Soo in Augusta

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A missed cut would normally suggest it’s been a week to forget, but for Julienne Soo memories of the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur will loom large.

A second round 77 followed yesterday's 81 and wasn’t enough for the 22-year-old to qualify for Saturday’s final round at Augusta National but there were signs of improvement overnight.

"A lot of the big numbers from last round were just really bad course management,” said Soo.

“I couldn’t account for the hill and the slope. That was mainly what got me in trouble.”

Troubles with yardages were made worse by some poor putting on Friday, though after birdies at seven and eight – and a close miss for birdie at nine – Soo looked back to her best.

The Victorian putted without luck on the back nine and dropped a few more shots on the run home, but the lure of tomorrow’s practice round of Augusta National was enough to keep Soo’s spirits high.

"I still get to play Augusta which is fun,” said Soo.

“We get to have the Augusta caddies, which is really cool. I’ll go watch some of my friends in the last round.

“I’m psyched, I’m not even upset with how bad I played this week. I still get to play Augusta!”

Jennifer Kupcho is the world’s best female amateur and she continued to play like it at Champions Retreat on Friday.

After an opening 68 the 21-year-old stretched her advantage to three strokes over the field with three birdies in her opening 10 holes.

But a pair of bogies on the 5th and 8th holes dropped the Wake Forest senior back to 5-under for the tournament, meaning her lead is just one with 18 holes to play.

"It was just a couple of bad swings followed by a couple of bad chips and putts," said Kupcho of her finish.

"I played a perfect round yesterday and you're not going to continue doing that."

Mexico’s Maria Fassi carded another round of 2-under 70 though it was far from uneventful, the 21-year-old notching five birdies and an eagle to eventually be outright second at 4-under.

And Soo’s Floridian playing partner Sierra Brooks is joined in third on the standings at 3-under by fellow American Kaitlyn Papp and Thai Pimnipa Panthong.

But late in the day all eyes were on the middle of the leaderboard, with a monster playoff needed to decide who would make the top 30 and earn a Saturday tee time at Augusta National.

Eleven players battled it out for ten spots in the final round with nine making par down the par-4 10th to progress.

That left Italy’s Alessia Nobilio and Spaniard Ainhoa Olarra and the 24-year-old from San Sebastian finished things in style, draining a downhill birdie putt from 20-feet to punch her ticket to Augusta.