American Stacy Lewis made a staggering 11 birdies and one double bogey en route to a second-round 63 to take a lead that held up almost all the way to the end of the second round of the Women’s Golf competition at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.
Playing in the second to last group of the day, Korea’s Inbee Park birdied the 18th hole to get to 10 under to wrest the lead away from Lewis going into the final 36 holes.
Here are five things we learned on the second day:
1. Lewis will have sore shoulders. Based on her conspicuous tan lines and red upper arms and shoulders, the red-hot American isn’t used to the sleeveless top that was a part of Team USA’s second-day uniforms. That was about the only thing that went wrong all day, though. “Best day ever!” Lewis tweeted. “Thankful for the friends and family there to celebrate.”
2. The American women are outclassing the men. In addition to Lewis, who was critical of some of the no-shows on the men’s side, Gerina Piller survived wild hooks on 17 and 18 to get in the house with a 67 for a six-under-par total. GOLF Magazine cover girl Lexi Thompson, the only other American in the field, putted poorly to shoot 71 but was still in contention at three under. The U.S. threesome looks way better than the four American men, none of whom were in gold medal contention at this stage.
3. Piller’s up-and-down par on 17 was the save of the week. After being fooled by the wind, Piller airmailed the green at the short par 3 hole, her ball kicking left into an awful lie, the ball nestled deep in a clump of weeds and beach grass. Her second shot, a hack-and-hope that kicked up a rooster tail of sand, chased up to within 10 feet of the pin and she made the par putt.
4. Aditi Ashok is for real. The 18-year-old Indian golfer, who is ranked 462nd in the world, fired her second 68 and is six under par, just four off the lead and in a tie for eighth place. That was the good news. The bad news was that meanwhile CNBC.com ran a story headlined, “India on pace for worst Olympic performance since 1992.” Total medals for the country of 1.3 billion so far in Rio: zero. Maybe Ashok, the youngest player in the field, can change that.
5. Lydia Ko is a sleeping giant. Hours after Lewis signed for 63, Canada’s golden girl Brooke Henderson, 18, birdied five of her last six holes to shoot 64 to get to eight under, just two back. The widely praised Gil Hanse/Amy Alcott Olympic course is yielding plenty of low scores — enough, in fact, to wonder if we might yet see a huge rally from No. 1 Lydia Ko. The 19-year-old New Zealander shot a second-round 70 to get to three under, but don’t be surprised if she authors the next really low round in Rio.