Kent Roosevelt sophomore Kory Nielsen struggled to close out her second round, but otherwise posted another low score in the Hudson Junior Invitational at the Country Club of Hudson on Wednesday.
She will be in the final group for today’s third round.
Nielsen posted a 3-over-par 75 a day after shooting a 74 in the tournament’s opening round.
That puts her at 5 over par for the tournament and in a tie for third place.
“I did OK, I had a lot of pars,” Nielsen said. “I think I’m doing pretty good, just trying to put three solid scores together. Today, I just couldn’t finish.”
Nielsen bogeyed three holes on the front nine but then birdied back-to-back holes (Nos. 9, 10), birdied the par-3 15th and was cruising through the back nine heading to the No. 17 tee. She then struggled to find the fairway on the final two holes with her driver, leading to her 3-over finish.
“It just gives me more motivation to come out strong tomorrow and have a good first couple holes and get it going,” she said. “If my driver goes straight and I’m hitting greens, [Thursday] should be OK.”
Nielsen has already shown steady improvement over her performance in last year’s Hudson Junior Invitational, which happened to be her first major high school event. In a two-round, rain-shortened tournament, she shot a 76 and 77 (9 over par).
She’s ahead of her pace, even with the minor struggles at the end of Wednesday’s round. Nielsen believes it has the most to do with her development on the mental side of the game.
“I think I’ve become smarter,” she said. “If I get in the trees, I know how to get it out. I have more experience. When I do get behind a hole, I try to get it back and have smart shots.”
Nielsen will start the final round 7 strokes off the pace set by Jacinta Pikunas of Youngstown, who posted a 4-under-par 68 on Wednesday. Madison Mullins of Sandusky is 4 strokes back of Pikunas at 2 over par for the tournament.
Alice Ho of Wadsworth is in a tie for 14th place at 14 over par.
Nielsen’s older sister, senior Kasey, is in a tie for 19th place along with Green’s Brooke Babbin at 16 over par.
Chase Johnson 3 back
Chase Johnson, formerly of Walsh Jesuit and a future Kent State player, caught fire on the back nine for the second straight day and posted a 2-under-par 70 in the second round, putting him only 3 strokes behind leader Ben Silverman of Toledo.
Johnson entered the par-5 No. 9 hole 1 over par for his round.
Facing a short approach shot, he couldn’t get it to bite and had it roll into the green-side rough.
He then chipped it in for a birdie and carried that momentum into the back nine, where he posted three more birdies and a lone bogey.
Johnson, 2 under par for the tournament, still has some making up to do, as Silverman wasn’t as sharp as Tuesday but still holds a 3-stroke lead.
If catching Silverman wasn’t tough enough, Johnson will be paired with John Mancinotti (1 under for the tournament). Both Silverman and Mancinotti are from Toledo, and they’re staying with one another during this tournament.
Johnson feels that if he can narrow the gap by the time they make the turn today, he’ll stand a real shot. He’s a collective 5 under on the back nine this week.
“I’ve been playing the back well so I know going down the stretch if I can get back into contention, no more than one behind at the turn, I can give him [Silverman] a run and hopefully pull it out,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘My confidence level is really high right now.”