Ko and Hataoka Share 2nd Round Lead at Wilshire
JIn Young Ko's 7-Under 64 Ties LA Open Tournament Record
April 21, 2022
It was a volatile leaderboard but the cream rose to the top during the 2nd Round of the 2022 DIO Implant LA Open at the Wilshire Country Club on Friday. The world's No. 1 player, Jin Young Ko of South Korea, shot 64 for low round of the tournament to share the lead with Japan's Nasa Hataoka at 7-under par, both with a two-stroke lead over Hannah Green of Australia.
"I wasn't expecting to play really well today because in the afternoon it's always hard to play this course," said Ko. "But my putting was good, so I'm happy with it."
The start of the 2nd Round was delayed more than an hour as the grounds crew got the course ready in remarkable short period of time after the Thursday night's rainstorm overflowed the barranca which meanders through 14 of the 18 holes at Wilshire. The usual post-rain flood and debris affected 17 of the holes on the course.
The weather also brought cool windy conditions throughout most of the day but died out in the last few hours. Play was suspended due to darkness, with six groups left to finish their rounds before the cut is made, currently at 3-over par.
Ko, Hataoka (No. 12 in the Rolex Rankings), Inbee Park (No. 9) and former Trojan Lizette Salas (No. 27) were able to take advantage of the calmer and slightly warmer conditions as they wrapped up play right around sunset. Ko's 64 tied the tournament's scoring record set by Megan Khang and Amy Yang in 2019, and Jessica Korda in 2021. She birdied eight holes, including five on the back nine, with only one bogey on the par-4 9th Hole.
Ko is now the Tour's most dominant player, having won six of the last 12 tournaments: "I didn't think I played 5-under on the back nine. I didn't know that. I was in the zone. I played so much fun today just by myself. I don't know what happened. But yeah, I played well today."
Hataoka's seven birdies were hampered by four bogeys, but was able to record a 68 to go along with Thursday's 67 to put her in Saturday's last group with Ko and Green. "The winds were pretty strong. The greens are pretty tight, narrow. So, my plan was to hit the green, not try to be too aggressive. On the back nine the winds kind of got weaker, so I was able to hit the pin."
Hannah Green, who tied for fourth at the LA Open last year, was bogey-free 4-under par 67: "I guess today's round kind of felt like even more under par than what it was. I was pretty solid with my putting all day today which was nice because yesterday I had a couple three-putts. But it was nice to get done in the morning and not have to worry about coming back early tomorrow to finish a round."
Inbee Park, one of the game's most consistent putters, shot a 67 and is tied for sixth at 3-under par: "Much better putting day today than yesterday, so very satisfied with the play today. I think ball-striking was pretty consistent the last two days, but definitely a better putting day, so it was good."
UCLA alum Alison Lee, who led after the 1st-Round, made five bogeys and two birdies to shoot a 74. She is tied for tenth with eight others at 2-under par. Defending champion Brooke Henderson failed to make the cut after shooting 1-over par 72 to go along with Thursday's 5-over 76. The final six groups yet to finish the second round will start Saturday morning at 7:15. The third round is expected to begin around 9:00.