Just four weeks after her win in North Carolina, Lucy Li made her way to the top of the leaderboard once again in New York. The California native currently holds a three-stroke lead, heading into the second round at -5.
Li is familiar with Pinehaven Country Club after playing in the 2021 Twin Bridges Championship. Thanks to that appearance, Li knew what kind of course she was teeing it up on this week.
“I played this course last year, and I think the cut was +4,” said Li. “I knew it was a tough course and it put a lot of importance on ball striking because the greens are really tough here.”
As was evident today, the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina winner feels good on the notoriously tricky course designed by Jim Thompson and Armand Farina. But Li doesn’t seem to be having any trouble after day one, giving her long game credit for her opening 66.
“I definitely think this course suits my eye pretty well,” said Li. “Ball striking is definitely one of my strong suits, so knowing the importance of that on this course gives me a lot of confidence.”
Li went bogey-free on the front nine and carded six birdies on the day. She plans to keep the same mindset for the next two rounds – one shot at a time, one hole at a time.
Four players share second place at -2. Milagros Chaves, Grace Kim, Chanoknan Angurasaranee and Nishtha Madan shot 69 to sit three back of Li.
Angurasaranee went bogey free on the front nine, while Kim carded one birdie and eight pars on the back. Angurasaranee, a 2022 Epson Tour rookie, says her caddie was a support system and helped her stay in the moment throughout her round.
“I’m basically just trying to stay in my zone,” said Angurasaranee. “I’m not thinking ahead of myself and being patient. My caddie helped me a lot and gave me the confidence to go for it.”
Chaves lit up Pinehaven’s front nine, finishing her round with five birdies in nine holes. She carded two consecutive birdies on No. 2 and 3, as well as three in a row on Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
Madan recorded five birdies on the day and is pleased with her start thus far in the Empire State.
“It’s a good start, and I’m trying to do the same thing tomorrow,” said Madan. “I’m going to stay detached and just play golf.”
A total of 48 players shot +2 or better including 14-year-old sponsor invite, Gianna Clemente, who carded a +1, 72.