Saturday, July 11, 2009

UGA's Reynolds Still in Contention for US Open

Yesterday we profiled, however briefly, Jean Reynolds and her rise to LPGA stardom via success in the US Open. As a golf fan, I casually follow the women’s circuit, but yesterday I could not turn away from the third round of the Women’s US Open. While Cristie Kerr was busy firing an even par 72 to maintain her lead and Eun Hee JI produced a two under par 70 to move into contention, NBC and the golf world affixed their eyes upon Georgia’s Jean Reynolds and her effervescent smile.

The 5’2” Bulldog from Newnan, nicknamed “Peanut” by her UGA sorority sisters, looked at home in the spotlight, moving to within one shot of the lead. In the next to last pairing, Reynolds opened par, par, and bogey, before a birdie on the par three fourth to remain two shots behind leader Cristie Kerr.

One group behind, Kerr would birdie the par five third and bogey the par three ninth, keeping the lead over Reynolds at 2 strokes. Reynolds would move to within one stroke of the Open lead with a birdie on the par three eleventh before trouble would strike. Kerr would regain command of her irons while Reynolds began to err off of the tee box. Reynolds ended the day by bogeying three of the final four holes to finish four strokes back.

Perhaps it was the pressure of them moment, maybe it was fatigue that led to the late in round lapses, but her ability to hit fairways and greens in regulation will likely keep her in contention for the 2009 US Championship. One thing is for certain, the Bulldawg Nation, near and far, will be woofing with approval as she tees off today.

In the end, Reynolds would be four strokes back, but better for the experience. Today’s final round finds Reynolds once again in the next to last pairing of golf’s biggest women’s championship. How will the 24-year-old Georgian react? Nobody knows for sure, but the girl that gave up collegiate golf so she could be a regular student and follow the football Dawgs can be sure those very same football Dawgs will be following her this Sunday.

update 2:15: Reynolds bogeyed the par 4 second to give another stroke up, now stands 5 strokes back.

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