September 22, 2023

Cold Putter, But Bennett Still Hot Chance in Pattaya

“Anyone want to buy a putter?”

It was an understandable joke from Kelsey Bennett as she walked off the 18th green of Siam Country Club’s Waterside Course on Friday afternoon.

Starting the day on five-under, one back of the lead belonging to Malaysia’s Liyana Durisic, the St Michael’s member finished the second round on the same score after an up-and-down day where she could have easily taken herself out of Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific contention.

It was the worst possible start for the 22-year-old runner-up from last year, Bennett finding the water right of the 1stfairway and making a bogey five.

“No not the way to start at all,” she said. “You don’t want to go right off the 1st tee.”

Things looked as though they may be on the improve soon after though with birdies at the 4th and 6th holes as the Mollymook product jostled with playing partners Mizuki Hashimoto and Jiyoo Lim for the tournament lead.

However, she closed the front nine the same way she started, her bogey perhaps a lucky result after missing the par-4 9th putting surface right of the greenside bunker to a right pin.

Birdie at the 10th was the last of the day’s highlights as Bennett’s putter complete cooled off and she mixed a bogey at the par-3 16th with seven parrs for a 72 and share of fifth, four shots back of defending champion and leader Hashimoto on nine-under.

“Couldn’t really seem to pick my lines today, but that’s alright, another 36 to go,” Bennett said. “It was definitely playing a lot tougher, but it didn’t help that I didn’t play my best.”

Playing alongside a pair that made 13 birdies between them, Bennett knows a low score is in the offering in Thailand as she looks to emulate fellow St Michael’s member Harrison Crowe by winning the region’s biggest women’s amateur event and lock up major championship starts.

But that won’t necessitate a change in strategy, perhaps just no more rounds with 33 putts.

“Just keep doing what I was doing, stick to my processes. It worked the first day, just didn’t work today, but hopefully it comes off the next two days.”

Bennett will head out for Saturday’s third round in the day’s penultimate group alongside Rianne Mikhaela Malixi of the Phillipines and Thailand’s Suvichaya Vinijchaitham.

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