Sung Hyun Park is pounding the rest of the field after two rounds at the CME Group’s Tour Championship.
The Rolex Rookie Of The Year appears well on her way to winning the Race To The CME Globe after putting six shots between her and points leader Lexi Thompson on Friday at Tiburon in Naples.
Park caught fire with five straight birdies to finish her front nine and went on to shoot a 65 that got her to 12-under par. She was staring at the 36-hole scoring record for the event but a three-putt bogey at the 18th took that away.
That’s the only thing bad she did all day.
She looks totally unflappable.
“I just try to focus on each shot and once I’m in the game I don’t think about that other stuff,” Park said about dealing with the pressure of what’s on the line. “I don’t feel quite as nervous as I thought I would. I can go into the weekend feeling a little more comfortable.”
She has a three-shot lead over Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith, the overnight leader.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a lead,” she said about her three-stroke advantage with two rounds left to play. “It can change at any moment. If I can keep the momentum going I will be good.”
Thompson started the day four behind Park. Lexi started finding her game and shot 67, still losing another two shots to Park. She’ll go into the weekend trailing by six but that’s not insurmountable by any means.
“I’m not really focusing on it at all,” Thompson said about all the titles up for grabs this weekend. “I just really wanted to play solid golf. Whatever happens, happens. I know I practiced so much in my off weeks and off-season. I’m trying my best, so whatever happens, I’ll be proud of myself no matter what.”
If Park keeps up her amazing play, she’ll be the overall CME Globe winner on Sunday and will most likely be the favorite to win Player Of The Year honors. The last time a player won Rookie Of The Year and Player Of The Year was 1978 and it was Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez.
But with 36 holes to play, nothing is a given.
Six shots can disappear over nine holes.
Park knows it.
So does Thompson.