Oct 05, 2019: Cheyenne Knight took a share of the lead into the weekend in her home LPGA Tour event.
A two-time Texas state high school champion at Aledo, just west of Fort Worth, Knight shot a 4-under 67 on Friday to join Alena Sharp and Brittany Altomare atop of the leaderboard in the Volunteers of America Classic.
“It’s incredible,” Knight said. “I know they’re going to cheer for me if I make a birdie or if I make a bogey, and just having all my family and friends here, it means a lot just having that support because I don’t get to play close to home very often. So just seeing them smiling and cheering me on is definitely a little advantage.”
Sharp closed with a bogey on the par-4 18th for a 65, and Altomare had a 66 to reach 9-under 133 at Old American Golf Club. The three leaders are winless on the LPGA Tour.
Knight had six birdies and two bogeys in the second round. Likely playing her final event of her rookie season on the tour, the 22-year-old former University of Alabama is 120th on the money list, with the final top 100 keeping their tour cards for next year.
“If I ever get nervous or uncomfortable, I’m like, ‘I have everything to gain, nothing to lose.’ I know I need a top finish and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Knight said. “I’m just trying to play one shot at a time. There’s 36 more holes and if I have a bogey or something, I have plenty of golf left. I know I need a high finish to avoid going back to Q-School, so I’m just putting my foot on the gas.”
Altomare had her second straight bogey-free round.
“I hit the ball really well,” Altomare said. “I gave myself some really close opportunities and I was lucky enough to make them. I was putting well and I just didn’t make any mistakes, which was really nice.”
Sharp eagled the par-5 sixth. The 38-year-old Canadian was 5 under in a six-hole stretch on the front nine.
“I played solidly, drove it really well,” Sharp said. “I think you have to do that here. There’s some bunkers you need to avoid, be smart off the tee. ”
First-round leader Stephanie Meadow was 8 under, following her opening 63 with a 71.
“I know I can win, I did it on Symetra and I did it in Ireland a couple weeks ago,” Meadow said. “I know I can handle myself. Yeah, this might be a bigger stage, but I know I can still do it. It’s the same concept. So, I’m excited for the weekend. I can’t wait to get started.”
Jaye Marie Green and Katherine Perry each shot 68 to reach 7 under.
Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after her second straight 68. The 10-time tour winner missed the cut last week in Indianapolis, ending her streak of 56 starts on the tour without missing a cut.
Inbee Park, the 2013 and 2015 winner at Las Colinas Country Club, was 5 under after a 70. U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 also had a 70 to get to 5 under.
Defending champion Sung Hyun Park was 2 under after a 71.
Mi Jung Hur, the area resident who won the Indy Women in Tech Championship last week, followed her opening 68 with a 75. Angela Stanford, the 41-year-old player from Fort Worth with six LPGA Tour victories, also was 1 over after a 75.
Aditi Ashok of India shot even-par-71 in the second round with three birdies and equal number of bogeys and lying at T32.