Colombian Uribe leads Australian Open
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2013 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open | Round Two | 16 Feb 2013
Colombian Mariajo Uribe has the lead at the completion of the second round of the ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra, the former US Amateur Champion perhaps benefitting by the low expectations she carried into the event.
Uribe added a second round of 67 to her brilliant 64 yesterday and leads by one over New Zealand 15 year old Lydia Ko and former world number one Jiyai Shin.
Being her first tournament of the year Uribe arrived in Canberra unsure how things would go after two months away from competitive golf.
“I mean it’s funny because the tournaments I play better are the ones that I’m rusty or that I’m not hitting the ball that well,” said Uribe after her round. "I think I come in with low expectations because it is the first tournament of the year and things kind of happen.
“I mean I went out yesterday just wanting to get in the competition more after two months without playing, so it was a fun round. I was never expecting 9 under or anything. I made good putts, took advantage of the opportunities and the same thing I did today. So I feel pretty good.”
Uribe is into her fourth year on the LPGA Tour with a previous best of 7th but she is clearly on the improve. She did win an unofficial 36 hole event in Brazil but, that aside, she has gone quietly about developing as an LPGA Tour player.
The position she is in therefore in Canberra is new to her but if she is nervous she is not showing it.
“I’m not really the type of player that gets nervous. I love pressure, so that’s when I play better usually, when I have pressure. I’m just going to be relaxed and if I have to play with Lydia, I’m sure I’m going to be relaxed because she’s so chilled on the golf course.”
Shin, the former number one player in the female game until Yani Tseng took over her reign at the 2011 Australian Ladies Masters, is slowly but surely regaining her standing amongst the game’s elite and on a golf course that appears ready made for her style of game she has excelled.
“I have a very good feeling at the moment, I felt the fairways were softer today and I had to hit more of my hybrids into the holes.
Shin felt when she arrived at Royal Canberra earlier in the week that this would be a golf course to suit her game. “Yes, because my strength is straight hit with my driver, so when I first time came up to here, when I see the narrow fairway I really liked that and then lots of trees around here and lots of kangaroos too. So really I enjoy to play and also the green is pretty soft at the moment so I hit a lot of my low iron and hybrid but easy to make the green with my long club too. So it really make the good course for me.”
In 2008 Shin looked all over the winner of the Australian Women’s Open when she led Karrie Webb by two when completing her 72nd hole. Webb found a way to birdie her last two holes to force a playoff and then went on to defeat the Korean at the first extra hole.
Shin has fully recovered from a hand operation she underwent in May of last year and on her return to competitive golf fully fit and ready to go she won the Kingsmill Championship on the LPGA Tour and the Ricoh Women’s British Open in back to back weeks in September.
Shin’s game is built around percentages a minimising mistakes and this week she has done just that with 15 birdies and just two bogeys in her opening 36 holes. Royal Canberra is a golf course that lends itself to her style of game.
The same could be said for Lydia Ko who might not have been quite as brilliant as she was on day one but her four under 69 was nonetheless impressive and she knew it.
“I think 4 under is a pretty good score out there. I mean, it’s not an easy golf course. I’m pretty sure it is a pretty good score for me. Yeah, I mean at some points, because my putting was so good yesterday when it didn’t go in I was a little disappointed but you know, I think I putted well out there and played well.”
Four shots further back and alone in 4th position is West Australian Kristie Smith who added a second 67 to be at 10 under.
“I’m definitely putting better this week than I have the past few weeks,” said Smith. “I knew it was coming. I’ve been swinging it good. Having my team here this week’s been nice. I saw it coming and I’m on a golf course I love and it suits my game. It is nice to be playing well.”
Smith won her first professional event on this golf course in 2010 and it is clearly a layout that fits her eye.
“I guess I don’t have that fear of – it sounds stupid – but the fear of water, fear of out of bounds. I feel like I can just get up there and just rip it down the middle. I’m strong enough if I hit it in the rough I can still get it up there on the green. I guess that’s a little bit – I guess a sort of anxiety I guess when I’m surrounded by water and out of bounds, which is what I’m working on with Sean (Lynch) constantly.
Lynch is a mind trainer with whom Smith has been working for over a year as she seeks to adopt better thought patterns on the golf course.
The cut fell exactly at 1 under with that score in 70th position. Karrie Webb and Stacey Keating were two who only just survived the cut.
Perhaps the most notable of those missing the cut were former teenage sensation Michelle Wie who missed by two and Brittany Lang.
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