COLOMBIAN golfer Mariajo Uribe sounded about as relaxed as a golfer can be after snatching the lead of the 2013 Australian Women’s Open after the second round at Royal Canberra.
It seems silly to say but the 22 year old had somehow managed to fly under the radar for almost two rounds despite never being further than a stone’s from the lead.
Fifteen year old Lydia Ko hogged all the limelight on the first day with her 10-under 63 even though the Colombian finished just one stroke behind her.
Everyone expected a repeat performance from Ko in what were benign conditions in Canberra in the second round but her putter just wasn’t quite as hot as on day one.
It was Uribe who took her chances, and in fact hasn’t made a bogie in two rounds.
Starting on the ninth hole, Uribe birdied her 9th hole and then had five more birdies on her back nine, including her last, for a 6-under 67.
Uribe said she was not the type of golfer to get nervous on the course and just felt “it was meant to be” that she was playing so well. It was her first event in two months.
“I mean it is funny because the tournaments I play better are the ones that I’m rusty [at] or that I am not hitting the ball that well,” she said. “I think I come in with low expectations and things kind of happen.”
She agreed that all the attention being on Ko made it even easier.
“I’m a pretty relaxed player. I feel like I never feel a lot of nerves or pressure, but yeah, I just went out and did the same thing I did yesterday.”
Uribe won the 2007 US Amateur Championship as a 17 year old and has just one professional win, the 2011 Brazil Cup, an unofficial LPGA event.
“As I said, I’m not really that type of player that gets nervous,” Uribe warned. “I love pressure, so that’s when I play better usually, when I have pressure. I’m just going to be relaxed and if I have to play with Lydia, I’m sure I’m going to be relaxed because she’s so chilled on the golf course.
Ko was again hitting the ball superbly but there were a number of birdie-chance putts that just wouldn’t follow the script.
She finished with a 4-under 69 to be even with South Korean Jiyai Shin who matched Uribe with a 6-under 67.
The pair have a four stroke buffer over fourth placed Kristie Smith, who is the leading Aussie after a 5-under 68.
Ko wasn’t too unhappy with her effort and was looking forward to the weekend and to the chance of back to back wins.
“I think four under is a pretty good score out there. I mean it is not an easy golf course. I’m pretty sure it is a pretty good score for me,” she said.
“At some points, because my putting was so good yesterday (she sank 11 birdie putts as well as wedging an eagle), when it didn’t go in [today] I was a little disappointed, but you know, I think I putted well out there and played well.”
The weekend cut fell at 1-under, with Karrie Webb just sneaking in when a player’s late bogey dropped the mark from 2-under. Michelle Wie is one of the big names missing the final rounds.Australian Womens Open Leaderboard