Best round of Wu’s life
“That’s the lowest score I’ve ever had. I’m very happy with my putting, it was very good today,” said Wu, a close friend of Ting-Hsuan Huang, the Chinese Taipei player who won the WAAP when it was first staged at Siam Country Club in 2022.
Wu, 264th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), is now setting her sights on emulating her compatriot who was unable to be in Thailand this week due to college commitments in the United States of America.
But she can expect tough competition from 21-year-old Muguruma, 22nd in the WAGR, the second highest-ranked player in the field, behind only Korean Minsol Kim (fourth).
Smiling her way around the sun-baked Waterside Course, Muguruma started and closed her second round with runs of three successive birdies.
Despite frequently being outdriven by up to 30 yards by playing partners Galitsky and Korean Soomin Oh, Muguruma never deviated from her gameplan. “My shots were better than yesterday and I played with good rhythm. I wasn’t thinking about my score,” she said.
Muguruma sets early target
One shot off the pace in a tie for fourth overnight, Muguruma was immediately into her stride on day two. Setting out on the back nine, she made birdies at 10, 11 and 12 to sweep to the top of the leaderboard for the first time before a bogey at 15 – the only blemish on her scorecard – briefly stalled her progress.
But she played her final nine holes impeccably, hitting every fairway and green in regulation. A birdie at the 1st – her 10th of the day – set the tone and after five successive stress-free pars she finished with a flourish. At the short 7th she was within six inches of a hole-in-one; at the 8th she converted from three feet and a curling left-to-right 20-footer at the 9th completed a tremendous round.
As Muguruma made her exit to polite applause, Galitsky was close to tears as she traipsed off the final green, receiving a consoling hug from father, Gary, after an uncharacteristically uneven display.
In stark contrast to Muguruma’s jovial demeanour, Galitsky’s body language told a story of frustration – head-shakes and anguished looks to the skies accompanying a succession of wayward drives and missed putts.
“Nothing felt right today. Bad tee shots, bad second shots and I left myself in difficult places on the greens,” explained the defending champion and joint first-round leader, who was four-over on the par-5s, including a double-bogey seven at the long 18th where she pulled her second into water and missed a short putt.
On the positive side, she has 36 holes remaining to mount a challenge. She said, “I’m playing the weekend, so after today’s round, I’m pretty thankful for that. I know I can do well and hope I can get something going the next two days.”