Date: July 24, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Magical Maddy couldn’t miss

There was no sign of what lay ahead when Maddison Hinson-Tolchard began her second round of the US Girls' Amateur very shakily today.

But four hours – and one "stupid" putting round – later, the young West Australian had earnt a special spot in the history of SentryWorld Golf Club in Wisconsin.

Not to mention the second seed as the field heads into knockout match play tomorrow.

The Gosnells member will be joined by compatriot Grace Kim, who also played well on day two of stroke play to nail down a share of 12th among the 64 who advanced.

But as encouraging as Kim's 71 was, it was her Perth mate's heroics that had the tournament abuzz.

Hinson-Tolchard, the 2018 Australian Junior champ, began in extremely nervous fashion, but recovered with the polish of a seasoned pro to card an extraordinary 65.

Her seven-under-par round was not only enough to vault her past all bar Yuka Saso on the leaderboard, it matched the young Philippines star's round of a day earlier as a joint course record.

"I can't believe it, but they're going to put plaques up for Yuka and I at the club to (honour) the course record … that's so cool," Hinson-Tolchard beamed.

And to think, it was possibly a few nervy strokes away from not happening at all.

"MHT" sent her opening tee shot into a fairway bunker, from which she just "flubbed it out" still 40m short of the green. She then "blew the third through the green" and was left absolutely stunned when she dropped a huge putt from the fringe to save an extraordinary par.

She then carved her tee shot on the second within 1m of a very wide penalty area and was forced to play her second over a row of trees.

But when that shot sailed perfectly and trickled up to enable a short birdie putt, the floodgates opened.

Hinson-Tolchard, who reached the match play in this event last year, almost holed her tee shot on the 136m par-three third.

"It was straight into a two-club breeze, so I hit a little punch 6-iron and it landed 3m short and lipped out to a foot," she said.

"After that it was just awesome.

"I had just a really good day on the greens and I sunk a heap of putts from, well, everywhere, really.

"It almost got stupid at one point.

"It was just crazy, I couldn't miss."

The longest putt, from the green, was a 25-footer curling and downhill on the 17th, the last of her seven birdies to cap her best tournament round.

Hinson-Tolchard, already a staple in the WA senior team, once fired a round of nine under in a club competition at Gosnells.

"But I think this was better than the one at `Gossy'! That putt was typical of my day, actually. I hit it too hard but it just went straight in the middle.

"I'm still stunned, to be honest. I've got the biggest smile on my face."

Hinson-Tolchard said her goal had been to qualify through into the top 20 seeds, but she's now resetting her ambitions for the week.

"I think this year I've got a good chance and I'm feeling confident about my game, which is a really nice feeling."

For the second straight day, Sydneysider Kim had both a double-bogey and an eagle in a rollercoaster round.

But the two Aussie youngsters are marching on upbeat into the knockout phase where Saso will start warm favourite after adding a second-round 67 to her opening 65 to win the medal at 12 under.