Aditi Ashok eagles way to JM Eagle lead as last week’s major champ misses cut
LOS ANGELES — Aditi Ashok made enough good swings to balance out her mistakes on a difficult day at Wilshire Country Club, shooting a 1-under 70 on Friday to take a one-shot lead after two rounds of the JM Eagle LA Championship.
Ashok holed a sand wedge from about 85 yards on the fly at the par-5 15th, part of a torrid three-hole stretch during an up-and-down round that included five bogeys. She was at 6-under 136 through two rounds, one shot ahead of Cheyenne Knight (69), Hannah Green (69) and Pernilla Lindberg (70).
Ashok, a 25-year-old from India, had her father on the bag, and there was plenty of discussion before her best shot of the day.
“It was kind of an in-between number, so we were almost trying to hit the next wedge because there’s water short of the green, but I decided to hit that one a little more full, and we got the number exactly right because it landed in the hole,” Ashok said. “So we’re like, OK, maybe it’s not a bad number.”
Ashok, ranked 90th in the world, chipped in for birdie on the par-4 fifth hole, but she closed with bogeys on Nos. 7 and 9.
“I think some of the misses here can be really brutal,” she said. “A couple of the par-3s I missed them on the long side, like left on 18 today, and I basically had no shot. I was basically making up-and-down for bogey.”
Green, who made four birdies and two bogeys, said Wilshire tests players’ patience.
“I guess it kind of gets a little swirly out here, so it’s kind of hard to pick the right swirl and the right club. But it also is starting to get bouncy,” Green said. “Greens are still relatively soft, but predicting what the first bounce is is still quite difficult.”
Sarah Kemp (68), Linnea Strom (70) and Alison Lee (71) were two shots back on a bunched leaderboard. First-round leader Linnea Johansson was in a group at 3 under after a 75. There were 21 players within four shots of the lead, including world No. 1 Nelly Korda and third-ranked Jin Young Ko, both at 2 under.
In Kyung Kim made a hole-in-one at the par-3 12th hole and was at even par.
Southern California native Lilia Vu, a week after winning her first major at the Chevron Championship, shot 75 to finish 2 over and miss the cut by a shot.