In the parlance of the popular Golf Channel reality show “Big Break”, Casie Cathrea is “safe and on to the next show” after Friday’s second round at the 2013 U. S. Women’s Open. After carding a 3-over 75 in her first round at Sebonack Golf Club on Long Island, the 17-year-old from Livermore, CA, bounced back on Friday with a second-round 73 for a two-round total of 148, four over par, good enough to move on to the weekend rounds.
Playing in the morning wave off a 7:18 AM tee time, Cathrea took advantage of the calm conditions, and drew on an increased familiarity with the course, playing a steadier game in the second round. Despite tougher pin locations and a slight increase in length over Thursday, the rising OSU freshman carded three bogeys against two birdies in Friday’s second round, as opposed to Thursday’s seven and four.
The numbers tell the tale for the improvement in Cathrea’s play from Thursday to Friday. Despite hitting one more fairway than in the first round, at 13 of 14, and two fewer greens, 10 of 18 compared to 12 in the first round, it was her game on and immediately around the greens that made the difference. She was 2 for 2 in sand saves and, most importantly, despite the tougher pin locations, took only 29 putts today compared to Thursday’s 33.
When she finished her round Cathrea was sitting on the wrong side of the projected cut line, but as more morning-wave players completed their rounds, and as the afternoon wave came out to find blustery winds and drier, faster-running greens, the cutline moved down. When play was called Friday afternoon due to thickening fog, the Top 60-and-ties cut line stood at +5. Tied with nine other players in 44th position, with another eleven below that, the future OSU Cowgirl is well above the cut line, which may yet drop to +6 as the 42 players who have yet to complete their second round wrap up their final holes Saturday morning.
Casie’s +4 total places her third among the nineteen amateurs in the field, only five of whom look to be making the cut. Ahead of her are Canada’s Brooke Mackenzie Henderson, and the #1-ranked female amateur in the world, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.
The 15-year-old Ko is tied with Henderson at +3, but has two more holes to play to complete her second round. The last five holes she had played before the round was called were triple-bogey, bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, so she has to settle herself and finish off her round cleanly if she isn’t to drop off the pace.
Of the other players in the field with Bay Area or Northern California connections, only 2010 U. S. Open champion Paula Creamer, originally from Pleasanton, is in better position than Casie Cathrea. Creamer’s rounds of 72, 73 put her T-17, 10 strokes back of leader I. K. Kim. San José native Christina Kim’s pair of 75s put her one below the current cut line, at +6, but there is a chance that the cut line will drop, moving the 10-year LPGA veteran into the weekend, as the last 42 players complete their second rounds on Saturday morning.
Veteran Juli Inkster, a two-time champion of this event (1999 and 2002), has a pretty slim chance of seeing weekend play, at +7. Monterey’s Mina Harigae is done, at +9, as are Casie Cathrea’s fellow qualifiers from the Lake Merced Golf Club sectional tournament, 2012 Cal grad Emily Childs, at +14, and Lafayette’s Elizabeth Schultz, also an amateur, who blew up to a +19 second round for a two-day total of +25.