The secret is out, the Idlewild course is tough. There may not be a single course in recent memory that has challenged the top competitors as much as this one. With a combination of long distances and tight lines, our competitors are in for a battle all weekend. As challenging as this course is, it allows for plenty of opportunities for those chasing the leader to make up some ground so, how did our top women fare on Friday?
After a strong performance yesterday, that saw her finish with the lead, Jessica Weese struggled to find her rhythm on the event’s second day. Today’s round started off rough for Weese, double-bogeying each of the first two holes, including a three-putt on hole one. Weese’s putting continued to haunt her throughout the round as she was only able to convert on 72% of her circle one putts and was not able to make any of her six attempts from circle two. Her putting woes combined with some inaccuracies off the tee lead to a 16-over, 82 on the round. That performance was 12 strokes worse than her score yesterday and saw the former leader fall to fourth place at 20-over par for the event.
Paige Pierce, who started the day in fourth, shot the hot round of the day of a 4-over par, 70 to rocket three spots up the scoreboard and into first place. Pierce was largely able to avoid the big numbers that plagued her on Thursday as she only carded one double-bogey on the day. Generally even scoring one double-bogey would not be a statistic to brag about, but on this tough Idlewild course, it’s an accomplishment. Case and point, Pierce’s other cardmates each had at least three double-bogeys or worse on the round, including Fajkus and Weese having a triple-bogey and Hokom carding a quadruple-bogey. Paige was able to add two birdies to her resume with impressive performances on holes three and sixteen. Paige was the only competitor in the field to birdie each of those two holes. Overall, Paige excelled inside the circle hitting 89% of her circle one putts which allowed her to improve four strokes on her score from yesterday.
Jumping from third to second place will be Lisa Fajkus. Fajkus had an incredibly strong round going, including four birdies, until hole 18. Lisa ran into trouble on the 650-foot par 4 and carded a triple bogey, seven to push her score from a solid 6-over par to a final tally of 9-over par. After only being one stroke out of the lead after 17 holes, Fajkus is now 16-over for the event and four strokes behind Pierce. Another competitor that had a late hole get the best of her was Sarah Hokom. Hokom had managed to play the course solid through the course’s first 15 holes. She was keeping up with Pierce and Fajkus until diaster stuck on hole 16. Sarah went out of bounds twice on her way to a quadruple-bogey, nine. Hokom then carded doubles on the final two holes to end up at a 12-over, 78 for the round. Now, she finds herself at 18-over for the event and in third place.
Who will be able to withstand this roller-coaster ride? With this course, a four stroke lead is not safe and Paige Pierce will have to continue to play solid golf if she wants to become the first champion of the Idlewild Open driven by Innova and The Nati. With so much intrigue with the event and this course, you will want to tune in tomorrow to see how it all finishes out.