Jutanugarn out in front heading into match play 

click to enlarge Prime position: World No. 1 Lydia Ko sits in second place as the field is trimmed to 64 for match play starting today. - GODOFREDO VASQUEZ/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Godofredo Vasquez/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Prime position: World No. 1 Lydia Ko sits in second place as the field is trimmed to 64 for match play starting today.

Scores improved with the weather at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club on Tuesday, as eight golfers finished under par for the round.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the only one to shoot under par Monday, remained atop the leaderboard, shooting a 1-under-par 71 to bring her two-day score to 2-under 142, earning her medalist honors.

The defending champion said her game was still not where she wanted it, however.

“My driver was not very good today,” she said. “But my putter was better. I made long putts two times and some short putts two or three times.”

Despite having the best run before the field is trimmed to 64 for match play beginning today, Jutanugarn said what happened the first two days no longer matters.

“Being medalist is good, but in match play, it’s nothing,” she said. “I just do my best, and everybody’s the same. Everybody’s tied at the first hole.”

World No. 1 Lydia Ko used a 30-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole to finish 1-under for the day and 1-over for the first two rounds, good enough for second place.

“The first couple of holes, my drives were going everywhere,” Ko said. “But then on 12, I had my first birdie of the tournament and on 13 I had a good drive down there, so I think I got my confidence back.”

The score of the day, however, belonged to Casie Cathrea of Livermore, who shot a 6-under 66 to rebound from a 10-over 82 on Monday and move into a tie for seventh place.

Brogan McKinnon, who was one shot behind Jutanugarn after the first round, stumbled a bit with a 4-over 76 to finish at 4-over 148, but will easily make match play.

Six rounds of 18-hole match play begin today, with the championship round scheduled for Saturday.

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