Three share IWO lead; Jeray among lurkers

Writing from Romeoville, Illinois

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Kaho Monica Matsubura, a recent Northwestern graduate who has yet to turn professional, was cruising along in the second round of the 25th Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open at Mistwood Golf Club.

She was 7-under through 33 holes of the double-round opening day, and leading by two strokes. She had survived two bouts with Kelpie’s Corner.

Then the 16th hole happened.

“I just got in my own head,” Matsubura said.

The resultant double-bogey 6 and a pair of closing pars dropped her to 5-under 139 and a share of the lead with Kasey Miller of Findlay, Ohio and amateur Sarah Busey of Racine, Wis., going into Tuesday’s final round.

That trio enjoys a two-stroke advantage on Mistwod teaching pro Nicole Jeray (71-70) of Berwyn and Jessica Porvasnik (72-69) of Hinkley, Ohio.

“The second nine I tried to play a little bit more aggressive,” said Matsubura, who opened with a 1-under 71. That was working – she birdied six of the first 13 holes – until her travails at the 16th. “I feel I still left a few shots out there.”

Miller had a like attitude about birdies flying away uncaptured.

“The course plays pretty short,” Miller said of Mistwood, which is set up at 5,961 yards. “I had a lot of wedges in, and I was sticking ’em tight, lots within 15 feet. Man, if ...”

Miller took full advantage at the par-5 15th, cutting the corner on the 504-yard dogleg over water and hitting her second shot close to set up an eagle putt. That placed her at 5-under, where she stayed to complete her second-round 3-under 69.

Busey scored 69-70, with a bogey-free opening circuit and a more random second round, including three bogeys, two of them on par 5s. But, she said, she putted exceedingly well, including a number of critical par-savers, notably a 30-foot downhill left-to-right putt that fell in on the par-4 13th. She had and made a similar putt on the following hole, the par-3 14th, and sank it for a deuce.

“I was on fire,” said Busey, who is entering her junior year at Santa Clara.

Jeray is chasing her third IWO title, which would come in a third different decade.

“I didn’t really hit anything close, but I played very solid,” Jeray said of her five-birdie, two-bogey double round.

“The weather itself was not too bad,” Matsubura said of a day that mixed heat, humidity, rain and the occasional cooling breeze.

Neither Busey nor Miller were put off by the switch in format to 36 holes on the first day.

“We play 36 on the first day of most college tournaments,” Busey said.

Miller played 36 holes in U.S. Open sectional qualifying a few months ago.

“Thirty-six hole days are more like a marathon,” Miller said. “You’ve got to keep grinding. But I feel like I have an advantage with the endurance exercising I do.”

Tim Cronin

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