Kansas State senior Emily Houtz leads a group of Wildcats, Shockers and Jayhawks atop the Kansas Women's Golf Association's Amateur Championship at MacDonald Park Golf Course after Wednesday's second round.
Houtz, last year's runner-up, shot a tournament-best 2-under 70 for a 148 total after two rounds. No other golfer has had a round better than 2-over so far.
Houtz leads by two strokes over defending champion Katy Nugent, who will be a junior at Kansas this fall, after her two-shot lead to begin the day was erased.
"I was hitting it close all day and I still could have made a few more birdie putts," Houtz said. "I kept it in play today. I wasn't in trouble, and that's the way you're supposed to do it."
Houtz and Nugent were joined by five other collegiate golfers at the top of the leader board.
Wichita State golfers Hannah Martin and Adin Stromgren are third and fourth. Martin shot a second-round 74 and is three shots behind Houtz, while Stromgren shot a 75 and is four shots back.
Audrey Yowell, a junior at KU, is five shots back after her 77. KSU's freshman Gianna Misenhelter shot a 77 and is tied with Yowell for fifth. Jennifer Clark of KU is seven shots back.
The tournament is still tight, with 10 competitors within eight shots. The final round begins this morning at 8 a.m.; the final group of Houtz, Nugent, Stromgren and Martin will tee off at 9 a.m.
Houtz's round was marked by her consistency and her putting. Houtz, who started on No. 10, made two birdies on the first nine holes. She sank a 25-foot birdie putt that helped spark her confidence, and also stuck an approach shot two feet from the hole from 130 yards out.
"I was confident overall, but definitely with my putting, making a few in the beginning helped me get going," Houtz said.
Nugent shot a 4-over par, 76 and couldn't get it going late.
After a birdie on No. 10 to start her day, Nugent's putter let her down from close range. She missed two putts within a foot but made a birdie putt on No. 3.
Nugent finished with bogeys on three of her last five holes, including the par 3 No. 9 where the pin was on the back right part of the green protected by a bunker.
"I didn't hit it as well as I did yesterday, but there were some very difficult pins out there," Nugent said.
But with the top seven golfers in college and three from KU, Nugent was proud with the collegiate effort.
"We had a good representation here today," Nugent said.
At MacDonald Park
Emily Houtz, Manhattan, 78-70-148; Katy Nugent, Wichita, 74-76-150; Hannah Martin, Salina, 77-74-151; Adin Stromgren, Topeka, 77-75-152; Audrey Yowell, McPherson, 76-77-153; Gianna Misenhelter, Overland Park, 76-77-153; Jennifer Clark, Kansas City, 78-77-155; Krista Hrdlicka, Wichita, 81-74-155; Becky Tetrick, Kingman, 78-78-156; Emily McDonald, Topeka, 76-80-156; Elise Houtz, Manhattan, 79-78-157; Stephanie Mingos, Mission Hills, 77-81-158; Amanda Fulton, Lyons, 79-80-159; Lauren Falley, Topeka, 80-79-159;
Cammrynn Stith, Wichita, 81-80-161; Cassie Lowell, Concordia, 84-77-161; Paula Routon, Wichita, 81-80-161; Melissa Brown, Columbus, 78-84-162; Michelle Woods, Manhattan, 80-82-162; Jacqueline Henderson, Wichita, 84-79-163; Mackenzie Thayer, Garden City, 87-78-165; Lindsey Hughes, Lawrence, 85-83-168; Taylor Gard, Chanute, 83-85-168; Rebecca Thomas, Wichita, 87-82-169; Brooke Thilges, Manhattan, 82-89-171; Courtney Huppert, Trophy Club, Texas, 88-83-171; Alex Beury, Benton, 83-89-172; Audrey Meisch, Wichita, 88-84-172;
Maggie Sloan, Pittsburg, 87-92-179; Sherrie Wynkoop, Wichita, 86-93-179; Brittnie Dillon, Newton, 90-92-182; Madison Murphy, Wichita, 90-94-184; Mikala Payne; Derby, 95-89-184; Chelsea Nemeth, Newton, 89-96-185; Nicole Lloyd, Wichita, 98-87-185; Abbey Campbell, Garden City, 92-97-189; Brooke Carvell, Augusta, 95-94-189; Maggie Alefs, Wichita, 95-94-189; Aye Phyu, Wichita, 99-92-191; Anna Robinson, Garden City, 98-94-192; Friyana Shah, Dodge City, 96-102-198; Lauryn Davies, Topeka, 108-101-209.
Vicky Hiebsch 84-74—158; Darlene Allen 80-83—163; Debbie King 83-84—167; Kim Price 89-90—179; Linda Riley 94-91—185; MaryLee Evans 90-98—188; Caryl LaVergne 100-92—192; Toshi Burroughs 94-99—193; Phyllis Fast 96-102—198; Melissa Rodriguez 106-94—200; Terry Chesnut 100-106—206.