After a pep talk from her dad — and also one from herself — Kansas University sophomore Meghan Potee posted the conference’s biggest turnaround Saturday during the second round of the three-day Big 12 championships.
Following an opening-round 91 on Friday, Potee led the Jayhawks by carding a 3-over 73 Saturday at Lawrence Country Club.
“I was like, ‘I’ve played this course so many times. I know I can play it well. I’ve played it well before,’” Potee said. “I think I just got nervous (Friday) and put a lot of pressure on myself.”
After the disappointing start, Meghan received lots of support from her father, Chris, on Friday night.
Following dinner, Chris reminded Meghan of tournaments she’d played in the past where she’d had an outstanding second day after not playing so well on the first.
The sophomore thrived Saturday by playing mostly mistake-free golf, posting 15 pars to go with three bogeys.
“I think it shows a strong character, not to give up on herself and not to give up on her team,” KU coach Erin O’Neil said. “I’m really proud of how she handled herself.”
A big part of Potee’s improvement was her putting. After changing her grip in the warm-up session Saturday, she finished her round with 11 fewer putts than she had Friday.
“My putting was what really got to me (Friday),” Potee said. “I was like, ‘I know these greens. I know every single break that’s on them. I’ve played it 400 times.’ I just needed to relax and calm down more.”
Potee was one of many Jayhawks who significantly improved their scores Saturday, as the Jayhawks posted a 307 following an opening-round 338.
The 31-stroke improvement from Day 1 to Day 2 was the best of any Big 12 school.
Four of the Jayhawks’ five golfers reduced their Friday scores by at least eight strokes.
That included freshman Gabby DiMarco, who ended her round with three straight birdies, including a chip-in on No. 16, to notch a 10-over 80.
“I know she’s been a little nervous, this being her first conference (tournament) and all and us hosting,” O’Neil said. “I think that definitely gave her a huge boost she needed to carry over to tomorrow and keep the same steady play.”
Sophomore Thanuttra Boonraksasat posted a 5-over 75 to move into a tie for 19th, while senior Katy Nugent tallied two birdies — including one on No. 18 — to keep her score in the 70s with a 9-over 79.
After opening the day in a tie for 10th, junior Audrey Yowell struggled, shooting a 14-over 84 to move back into a tie for 35th.
“She was kind of trying to protect it instead of just playing her game,” O’Neil said. “She just couldn’t quite get it settled down. But I think (Sunday) she’ll get back in the groove and be just fine.”
Even with Saturday’s improvement, KU still is in last place, seven strokes behind ninth-place Missouri (638) and 13 shots back of eighth-place Kansas State (632).
Four teams are bunched at the top. Oklahoma is first with a team score of 608, followed by Iowa State (613), Baylor (615) and Oklahoma State (616).
OU’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil has a two-shot lead entering today’s final round with a combined score of 145. Baylor’s Hayley Davis is two shots back.
KU will be paired with Missouri today and will tee off beginning at 8 a.m.