In her first appearance at the AmazingCre Portland Classic, Lilia Vu has share of the lead for the first time in her LPGA career after an exciting 6-under 64 on Friday. The UCLA alumna made four birdies in her first five holes, added an eagle at the par-5 seventh hole and added one more birdie at No. 12. Having never played at Columbia Edgewater Country Club before, the 24-year-old Epson Tour graduate used her course management skills to create birdie opportunities.
“It feels pretty good to be in contention here. The course it a little tighter. It's not as long, but definitely tight off the tee,” she said. “I think I do have good course management… and I just know that sometimes going for the green isn't always something I'm comfortable with. So, I'm completely fine laying up, and then I feel like I can make a birdie from anywhere.”
Vu shares the second-round lead with two-time LET champion Esther Henseleit. The German golfer also got off to a hot start with four birdies in her first nine, but really kicked it up a notch after the turn. She carded five straight birdies on holes 2-6 and added another for good measure on her 18th hole. Henseleit tied Andrea Lee for the low round of the day with her 8-under 64, earning a share of the lead for the second time this season. She held a first-round lead during the Honda LPGA Thailand back in March but has struggled to find her rhythm since.
“To be honest, it's just great to be here at the moment. I had some pretty rough bumps since Thailand, and it's great to see something coming your way,” Henseleit said. “It's just felt like nothing really came together. I've been working really hard and felt like every part of my game has been improving but couldn't really get the scores together. Kind of around the cut line every week; pretty hard mentally if you do that every week. So, yeah, just good that today kind of happened and I didn't have to fight too hard for it.”
Spaniard Carlota Ciganda holds solo third following a second-round 6-under 66. The two-time LPGA champion has found a good groove in her past two events, finishing T10 at the Dana Open presented by Marathon and T13 at the CP Women’s Open. She’s had three additional top-10 finishes in 2022 and two more top-20 finishes. Friday in Portland, Ciganda needed only 24 putts to sink eight birdies and put herself in the final group on Moving Day.
“I'm putting great, so I think if you can keep the speed going, I think, yeah, can go low during the weekend,” she said. “I've been playing good lately, so it's nice to be at the top again. I would love to win a tournament before the end of the year, so that's my goal. I'm going to try to do that. Keep playing my best, keep playing the strategy that we have with my caddie, and yeah, just keep making birdies.”
The highlight of the second round came from Oregon native Caroline Inglis, who aced the par-3 13th from 143 yards with her 8-iron. Inglis, a member at Columbia Edgewater, was particularly excited about earning her first ace as a pro at her home course in front of a large gallery of locals.
“I hit it kind of not very good, like it was thin. I was like, okay, it'll bounce up. That's fine. It took a really big first bounce and just like went in,” Inglis explained. “I was so shocked like that it actually happened at my home course on a hole that I played so many times. And there were so many people. Like so many of my family, friends, and members out here watching that it was like such a loud roar. It was really fun.”
Inglis sits in a tie for 10th, just one stroke behind a group of six players tied for fourth. One of those players is Maja Stark, who is making her member debut on the LPGA Tour this week. She is joined by Lee, Daniela Darquea, Weiwei Zhang, Ayaka Furue and past Portland Classic champion Hannah Green at -8 heading into the weekend.
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