After 36-holes of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Kiira Riihijarvi holds the solo lead at 9-under par. Her one-stroke lead wasn’t solidified until the final hole of her second round – an eagle on No. 18.
“It feels really good,” said Riihijarvi. “I three-putted No. 18 yesterday, so it was nice to get a little redemption.”
In addition to her lone eagle, Riihijarvi carded five birdies to sign for a second round score of 6 under. To prepare for being in the leader group once again this season, the Finn plans to rest and remind herself that what she’s been doing works.
“I’m going to focus on the same things I have been,” said Riihijarvi. “I’m going to eat, sleep and do it again tomorrow, one hole at a time. I’m going to do what I’ve been doing; it’s obviously been working. I won’t worry too much or get too ahead of myself.”
Currently No. 11 in the Ascensus Race for the Card, a win in El Dorado, Arkansas could put Riihijiarvi in a comfortable spot within the top 10 with two weeks remaining in the season.
“I’m aware of where I’m standing,” said Riihijarvi. “But I believe that everything happens for a reason, and when it’s going to be my time, it’s going to be my time.”
Tied for second at 8-under par were Jiwon Jeon and Bailey Tardy. The duo, who teed off in the morning wave, spent most of the day on the top of the leaderboard. They agreed that playing with someone who is also doing well keeps the momentum going.
“It helps,” said Jeon. “But I try not to think about it too much. Eventually you’re playing against other people, but on the course, you’re fighting yourself.”
Jeon carded six birdies on the day and a lone bogey. The Korean thought her shots improved from her first round to the second and has loved having emotional support from her father, who is also her caddie.
“Everything fell into place today,” said Jeon. “I really enjoyed it overall, and I’m very proud of myself.”
Tardy finished her second round with three birdies on the day. Despite feeling like she made some mistakes, the Georgia native was able to keep her name near the top of the leaderboard.
“I almost four putted today,” said Tardy. “I kind of just laughed it off. You have to accept things and not get too worked up about them. It’s so cliché, but after it’s over, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Rounding out the top five, tied for fourth were Milagros Chaves and Kristen Gillman. The duo head into the final round at 6-under par, after signing for second rounds of 4-under par 68.
A total of 64 players made the cut at 4-over par, including University of Arkansas graduate Regina Plasencia (+3).
Karen Chung (-3, T9) on making the cut on a difficult course:
“It’s a matter of who makes more putts out there. The greens are definitely more receptive than other years. Hopefully the golf gods are on my side tomorrow.”
Abegail Arevalo (+2, T35) on two eagles during the second round:
“For round two, I tried out not having any expectations at all and was super focused on my targets. More importantly, I wasn’t forcing anything. Both eagles were about 125 yards [from the pin], and we had no idea if they went in or not. I liked the second eagle the best because that pin on No. 5 was intimidating.”
Clariss Guce (-3, T9) on three consecutive birdies to finish the round:
“It’s definitely satisfying. I had a really rough start, so a really good finish made up for it.”
Milagros Chaves (-6, T4) on being in contention:
“It’s nerve-wracking always. But it’s also always exciting to be there and have an opportunity.”
Kristen Gillman (-6, T4) on a 4-under second round:
“I feel like today was a really solid round. I think I only missed two greens. Out here that’s kind of the key, just make sure you hit fairways and greens and place yourself in the right spot. I feel like I was able to do that today, so it was a pretty stress-free round.”