Aditi Ashok slips out as Georgia Hall takes charge

Aditi Ashok squandered a good start in Portland as she stumbled out of the weekend with a 76 on Friday. Georgia Hall enjoys a three-stroke advantage

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Georgia Hall during the second round of the Portland Classic - Pic: LPGA

LPGA Release – September 01, 2018: Aditi Ashok betrayed a good start with a patchy second round at the Cambia Portland Classic. The Indian who shot a brilliant 69 on Thursday added a 76 on Friday to miss the cut.

2018 LPGA Tour rookie Georgia Hall sits atop the leaderboard going into the weekend at the Cambia Portland Classic. Carding a bogey-free 9-under round on Friday, Hall has a three-stroke advantage over Australian Minjee Lee (-12) and four strokes over Americans Megan Khang (-11) and Marina Alex (-11).

Hall’s score of 129 broke the 36-hole tournament scoring record by one stroke, previously held by Pornanong Phatlum in 2013.

SCARY GOOD PUTTING FOR HALL

Georgia Hall followed her first-round 66 with a bogey-free 9-under 63 on Friday to break the Cambia Portland Classic’s 36-hole scoring record. Hall carded five consecutive birdies on the back nine, including her 45-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th.

Portland Classic - LPGA Image
Portland Classic – LPGA Image

“After about the seventh or eighth one in a row went in, he was like, oh, God, you’re scaring me, what’s going on?” said Hall of her conversation with her caddie and boyfriend, Harry Tyrrell. “I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. But I just kept in my own bubble and just kept focusing on the putts, and they were dropping, so like I said, I’m extremely happy with 9-under.”

Hall kept up the momentum, leaving behind her fellow competitors who struggled to keep up with her blistering pace.

During her round, Hall said she told herself, “I just want to keep going. I want to get as far ahead of the others as I can. I just want to increase the distance apart.”

MEGAN KHANG GOES LOW ON FRIDAY

Megan Khang followed an opening-round 68 with a 7-under 65 on Friday to shoot her lowest 36-hole score of the 2018 season. The 20-year-old opened with an eagle on the par-5 fifth and also carded four birdies on the day.

“My caddie (Kurt Moskaly) and I just kind of hit some great shots, had some good numbers and just kind of stayed patient out there” said the young Massachusetts native. “Definitely gave myself a lot of opportunities, and luckily a few of them dropped, and just kind of kept that mentality for the rest of the day.”

This is the second time in her young career that Khang has been atop the leaderboard going into the weekend. She was first after the second round at the 2016 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, where she went on to finish T9. In 2017, she finished T9 at the Cambia Portland Classic for one of her four top-10 finishes and this week, she has a chance to earn her fifth top-10 for 2018.

“If I just play my own game and just stick to what Kurt and I have been doing all day, then it normally ends up in our favor,” said Khang, who will play in the final group on Saturday. “I took a peek here and there, but overall just tried to stay in my own zone.”

TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW FOR ALEX

Marina Alex’s second-round 71 was admittedly pretty dull compared to her electrifying first-round 10-under 62. “It was just not as exciting as yesterday. It’s kind of hard to be as exciting,” she said.

However, she shot under par on Friday and still stands near the top of the leaderboard, sharing third place and just four strokes behind leader Georgia Hall.

“The Tour is so competitive, and every week girls are shooting 6-, 7-under pretty regularly,” said Alex, who tied the 18-hole tournament scoring record on Thursday. “If you don’t keep up that pace, you’re going to get left behind. I still have a really good chance on the weekend.”

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