Gannon, Mertsch are tied for second
April 24, 2022 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 0 comments
JONESBORO, Ark. — For the first time this season, Kristin Tattar has posted back-to-back hot rounds, catapulting her into a seven shot lead at the 2022 Jonesboro Open and putting her in prime position to win her first Elite Series event of the year.
Tattar shot a 1006-rated 6-under, four shots worse than her round 1 effort but still two shots better than anyone else in the field. Tattar was strong on the putting green despite blustery conditions, particularly early in the round when she hit multiple 30-40 foot putts for four birdies by hole six. At that point, she was 3-under par on the day while her fellow lead cardmates were all sitting at 1-under. She carried that two stroke advantage through the rest of the round.
“I will try to only think about following my game plan,” said Tattar when asked about her mindset heading into the final round. “I think I have a solid game plan, so I’ll just think about executing my shots, and that’s it.”
Tattar is poised to continue a remarkable streak of finishing on the podium. Since 2020, she has only finished outside the top three at an event once — at the 2021 World Championships, where she was coming off of a long transatlantic flight after two weeks of quarantining in Croatia to be able to enter the United States. She hasn’t missed the podium at a non-Major in nearly five years.1
Her play this weekend has transcended her strong efforts so far this season. This is the first time in her career that she’s shot consecutive 1000+ rated rounds at an event, and Friday’s round 1 was her highest-rated round ever. She’s only missed a single green in regulation despite strong wind during both rounds.
Gannon and Mertsch Still in the Mix
Missy Gannon and Kat Mertsch are tied in second place at 9-under par, seven strokes back of Tattar. Gannon had the better round on day two, shooting a 4-under with strong tee-to-green play. Her 0/9 putting performance from Circle 2 kept her from getting in closer striking distance of Tattar.
Mertsch, too, played well off the tees and in the fairways but struggled on the green. She missed eight Circle 1 putts, double the mistakes she made in round 1.
Both players are capable of shooting much stronger final rounds if the putter starts to drop, though they’ll still likely need Tattar to have an off round to have an opportunity to chase her down with such a large lead. Tattar has never lost at an Elite Series event when she’s led after the opening round.
Ella Hansen Makes Lead Card Again
On the open fairways of Jonesboro, Ella Hansen’s game is potent. Her distance advantage has helped her get to 8-under through two rounds — she’ll likely be in a battle for 2nd place in Sunday’s final round.
Her bogey on Hole 12 was emblematic of her strengths and weaknesses. On the 535′ par 4, she crushed a drive about 425′, well outdriving the rest of the lead card. But she then left her 110′ upshot too far left on the backhand approach and faced a tricky downhill putt from near the edge of the circle. She missed the putt, missed the comebacker, and had to settle for a bogey 5. While her putting has improved immensely from her first days on tour last year, Hansen still has work to do on her short game — both putting and approach — in order to unlock her full potential as a player.
“No expectations at all. I’m literally just going to play, keep my grateful attitude, and just be so happy that I’m out here in beautiful weather and beautiful Jonesboro. And play the sport that I love to play.” — Stacie Rawnsley on her mentality going into the final round
Round Two Highlights
Her last time outside the top three was at the 2017 Konopiste Open, where she finished 4th. ↩