Gabriella Then shot a 2-under 70 to take the second-round lead of the Garden City Charity Classic on Saturday. The University of Southern California alumna made four birdies before back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 cut into what was a four-shot lead at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan.
Despite sustained winds between 25-35 mph and consistent gusts up to 45 on Saturday, Then’s two-day total of 7-under 137 sets her career-best score through 36 holes.
“The wind died down a little bit [from Friday], but it didn’t faze me at all. I had to adjust to the shots the way you would normally play them,” said Then, who will take a one-shot advantage into Sunday’s final round. “I am excited, yet calm, mellow and focused.”
Yan Liu recorded five birdies for a second consecutive 3-under 69. The third-year Epson Tour member is 6-under for the tournament.
“This is my first time without a caddie, just using a push cart. I told myself, ‘If something happens, just relax and keep going, stay patient.’ I’m very focused on my swing,” said Liu. “On No. 16, I was on green in two and so close to eagle. I hope to get it tomorrow.”
Maddi Caldwell-Young (68) shares third place at 5-under and rounds out the final grouping off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 9:20 a.m. CDT. Alexa Pano (70), making her second career start as a pro, and 18-hole leader Jillian Hollis (73) join Caldwell-Young in a tie for third.
“I’ve felt good the whole week with how I’m playing. I’ve enjoyed the course and challenge of the wind so much. I’m excited to finish strong,” Pano said. “My putting really came through today. All the birdie opportunities I basically made and then a lot of good lag putting to avoid bogeys. I was happy with the day.”
Spain’s Teresa Toscano (68), who carded three birdies and an eagle at the par-5 1st in the second round, is tied for sixth with Sofia Garcia (72). A group of five individuals sit in a tie for eighth at 2-under, while 62 players made the cut of +4. Topeka native and Wichita State University alumna Rachel Stous signed for a 3-over 75 on Saturday to miss the cut on +10.
Jillian Hollis (-5, T3) on the conditions during Saturday’s morning wave:
“It was definitely a little tougher than yesterday, but I think I handled it pretty well. Some greens you are just trying to hit onto the green from 100 yards. Different golf. You have to stay present and not think too far ahead. It was a battle with the wind today.”
Teresa Toscano (-3, T6) on her 4-under 68 in the second round:
“Before the round, I told myself to hit every fairway and green I could. That was key today, just forget about birdies. Then when birdies happen, that’s good and I kept that mentality. It was not as windy as yesterday, but I made some putts which made all the difference.”
Karis Davidson (-2, T8) on her gameplan and results in the second round:
“I honestly just tried my best to concentrate on getting it onto the green and make a two-putt. It was pretty tough to even walk into the wind, so just tried to keep going. It was quite consistent today and overall, a good day.”