CAMARILLO, Calif. – Jody Ewart Schadoff took a two-shot lead into the LPGA Mediheal Championship late in her round Thursday with a run of four straight birdies to go 8-under 64.
Ewart Shadoff has gone 245 times without a win on the LPGA Tour and is off to a strong start in her pursuit of an elusive title that she hopes to end in more than a decade.
“I felt very relaxed today,” she said. “Everything was kind of flowing. I was just messing around with the plaster very well. It just helps when everything comes together.”
China’s Alison Li and Ruixin Liu are at 66, and at 67, the team of Californian Danielle Kang and Ataya Titikul, 19, is on the fast track to becoming the world No. 1.
Titikul won in Arkansas two weeks ago and could have gone to No. 1 with a win in Texas last week, but she stopped and finished fourth.
Titikul shows no signs of slowing down at Saticoy Club, a century-old course in Ventura County designed by William Bell.
“I love the challenges in golf,” Titikul said. “When a challenge comes to you, it’s like another challenge. It’s another experience that (you) get. Then if you’re playing on a challenging course, you know how your game is.”
Ewart Schadoff, 34, who played college golf at New Mexico, started her round with a birdie on the par-3 10th. She was steadily going from 3-wood to 10 feet for eagle on the par-5 14th hole.
“That eagle really kicked my ass,” Ewart Schadoff said. “Then it kind of got hot from there.”
Her lone bogey came on the first hole with a poorly hit 7-iron, and then she poured it in with birdies, two on the 5s.
At No. 44 in the points race, Ewart Schadoff is well on his way to the season finale at the CME Team Tour Championship in November. The top 60s made it to the final event. This is the last home event on the LPGA for a month, before returning to Florida for two tournaments in Asia.
Liu is at number 97.
“Being able to hit a low round like today helps boost my confidence going forward,” Liu said.
Kang attended school in Pepperdine and her gallery includes her brother, Alex Kang, who plays on the Korn Ferry tour. Kang revealed at the US Women’s Open this summer that she had a tumor on her spine, though she did not discuss the treatment.
She returned after more than two months out and showed flashes two weeks ago when she ran in Arkansas. Now she is on the high of her college and has a good feeling about the course.
“I gave myself a lot of chances all day, and I was able to read these greens well. I was around here,” Kang said. “So there’s a lot of double breakers, a lot of putts that break more than two, three cups. I was just trying to go with my gut.”