Queensland’s Robyn Choi has posted the second course record of her career and it could hardly be more timely, taking a two-shot lead at the Toyota Tuscaloosa Classic in Alabama.
With just three events left in the season, Choi currently sits 14th in the Epson Tour’s Race to the Card standings and in need of a high finish to earn an LPGA Tour card awarded to the top 10 at season’s end.
In her fourth season on the secondary tour, Choi’s 10-under 62 gives her a two-stroke buffer heading into the second round as she also chases a maiden win on tour.
Her 10-under par 62 is not only a course record at Ol’ Colony Golf Course but is a career best, putting the 24-year-old in the perfect position to strive for a potentially life-changing result.
Starting from the par-5 10th, Choi began her bank of birdies at the 11th and then made four on the trot from the 13th hole to turn in five-under.
She made another at the par-4 second and then embarked on a second run of four-straight birdies from the fifth hole to reach 10-under with one hole to play.
An 11th and final birdie eluded her at the par-4 ninth but it is a round that will live long in her memory.
“It’s my personal best,” Choi said post-round, playing partners in awe as putt after putt dropped.
“I was kind of nervous on the last hole. I had like a three or four-footer but I was kind of shaking over that.
“I’m glad that I made it.
“Breaking a course record always feels good.
“I’m actually really happy. I’ve broken one course record before but it was only like a 67 or something like that, something that someone could easily break.”
Aware that time is running out to advance her position inside the top 10, Choi was able to cast those thoughts aside and focus only on the shot at hand.
“Honestly, it was kind of having no expectations,” Choi said of her mindset.
“In the situation I am in, I kind of have to have a good round or a good tournament to finish in the top 10 but I feel that will just mean extra pressure if I was thinking about it and had to think about scoring.
“I just kind of threw that away and just played the game to be just steady golf and then if it happens, it happens.”
Eleventh in the Race to the Card standings, it was also a strong start for Gabriela Ruffels, her four-under 68 putting her in a tie for eighth with two rounds to play, Grace Kim struggling to a three-over 75 after making a triple bogey on her opening hole.
Another Aussie within range of a breakthrough win is Anthony Quayle.
The reigning Queensland PGA champion is still chasing a maiden win on the Japan Golf Tour but finds himself four shots back and in a tie for third at the Vantelin Tokai Classic.
Starting Friday’s second round in a tie for 22nd place, the 28-year-old fired a five-under par 66 to move into a share for third at the halfway mark.
Quayle began his second round from the 10th tee full of optimism when he birdied four times in the six-hole stretch starting from the 12th to complete his inward nine at four-under.
He then steadily parred the first six holes after the turn before sandwiching a bogey in between two birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to put him in contention for a first JGTO victory.
Quayle had come agonisingly close to a win in May when he was pipped to the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open by Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent in a playoff, going on to finish tied for 15th on debut at The Open.
“I have played nicely. My game feels nice and the course really suits me,” said Quayle.
“It was just a really solid couple of days. I am hitting the ball long again so if I can find a few fairways over the weekend, I’ll be able to play really well.”
Adding to Quayle’s motivation is the lure of a spot in the PGA TOUR’s ZOZO Championship from October 13-16.
The top eight JGTO money leaders after the completion of next week’s For The Players by The Players will make the cut for the $US11 million showpiece event.
Currently 11th in the Money Rankings, Quayle must break into the top-nine at least in order to earn the coveted spot, with first-placed Kazuki Higa having already secured his ticket by virtue of being the BMW Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup winner.
“I really want to play ZOZO so I am working hard to achieve that,” vowed Quayle.
Fellow Australian Adam Bland also produced a solid second-round display as he traded five birdies against two bogeys to be tied eighth on 137, Brad Kennedy dropping to a share of 24th following a second round of two-over 73.
After atrocious conditions in the second round Maverick Antcliff (74), David Micheluzzi (73) and Geoff Ogilvy (76) are all tied for 29th to lead the Aussie charge, Kiwi Ryan Fox (74) six shots off the lead and in a tie for 10th.
Scott Strange is the best-placed Australian heading into Round 3 of the Asian Tour’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Kiwi Daniel Hillier is co-leader at the Challenge Tour’s Hopps Open de Provence and Karis Davidson is tied for 24th through two rounds of The Ascendant LPGA event in Texas.