Round 2: Five Things to Watch For July 25, 2017 | Augusta, Mo. By Ron Driscoll, USGA

Haley Moore is one of several players from California who are off to a strong start at Boone Valley Golf Club. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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As Bryan McMurray surveyed the landscape of the Boone Valley Golf Club on Monday morning, the club’s general manager of six years produced a number: 155.

That is the number of strokes that McMurray predicts will be the cutline for the stroke-play segment of the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship after 36 holes concludes on Tuesday. He cited the possibility of stronger winds and the uneven lies the course produces as factors that could drive up scores after Mika Liu led the way on Monday with a round of 4-under-par 67.

Coincidence or not, that total of 13-over-par 155 is also the Course Rating for the course this week doubled (77.5). After one round, 72 players are at 5-over-par 76 or better, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play on Wednesday. We will see how prescient McMurray is by late afternoon.

California Dreamin’: Entering Tuesday’s second round, four of the top seven players were from California, including leader Mika Liu, of Beverly Hills, who shot 67. Liu was joined by Brianna Navarrosa (68), Nicole Whiston and Haley Moore (70), with Lucy Li, Zoe Campos and Karah Sanford (all 71s) close behind. Will the Golden State, with a field-high 24 players, continue to dominate the leader board?

Rugged Stretch: Half the field will start play on No. 10, and the first four holes on that nine were three of the five toughest on the course on Monday, as well as the toughest par 3 (No. 12, ranked 12th). The trio of par 4s (10th, 11th and 13th) were all playing more than a half-stroke over par on average. As players jockey for match-play seeding and fight to make the cut, they will need to pay attention here, where the field combined for 190 bogeys and 56 double bogeys on Monday.

World Ranking, Take 1: Leader Mika Liu is No. 42 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™, the third-highest position in the field. Haley Moore (No. 21) and Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (No. 32) are the two players more highly ranked than Liu, and none of those three players is worse than tied for fourth through Round 1 of stroke play.

World Ranking, Take 2: On the other hand, Esther Lee, of Brazil, is No. 50 in the world and the fifth-highest ranked player here, but she shot 6-over 77 on Monday and will need to improve to assure her place in the 64-player match-play draw. Jennifer Chang, No. 101 in the world and the field’s sixth-highest ranked player, shot 76 and is tied for 57th place as she vies for match play.

Friendly Rivals?: There are four intact sets of U.S. Women’s Four-Ball partners who qualified for this championship, as well as a pair of sister teams. As players continue to advance through match play, there may be a matchup of players who know each other very well and have been hoping to not have to square off against their teammate, friend or sister. Stay tuned.

Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.

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