Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Jerman and Burton challenge

Not one word about Se Ri Pak's second-round performance in the 2004 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic appears in this column. Promise.

Pak, who has won four Farr titles in six years, is just warming up. The final two rounds have been her oasis at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

As the pressure mounts, Pak's performance peaks.

The Se Ri Pak Rule clearly states that if Pak is near the top of the Farr leaderboard entering the third round, she's just about unbeatable. That said, there are exceptions to every rule.

Different golfers handle pressure differently.

To Pak, Highland Meadows is her home golf course away from home. She's nailed so many big shots at the Farr, her only reaction to the pressure - perceived or otherwise - is to have virtually no reaction at all.

Yesterday, two golfers, Angela Jerman and Brandie Burton, surfaced as legitimate challengers to Pak following strong second-round performances.

While their approaches are strikingly different, the results have been remarkably similar.

Jerman is a second-year pro who's No. 142 on the official money list this year.

The 2002 Southeastern Conference player of the year at Georgia, Jerman had never led after a round of any pro tournament until yesterday, when she fired a 68 for a two-day total of 135 to enter into a first-place tie with U.S. Women's Open winner Meg Mallon.

Jerman was a breath of fresh air to reporters who greeted her in the interview room following yesterday's big round.

She wore her excitement on her face, like a pair of fancy designer glasses.

"I got a new driver this week, and I just feel confident stepping up to the ball," Jerman said.

Jerman answered questions in a conversational tone. She prefaced every response with a Pepsodent smile. Her enthusiasm was genuine and contagious.

Given this was Jerman's first time in the media room, would she like to do it again?

"Oh, yeah, because if you are doing media that means you are playing well."

Will she be nervous today?

"Sure. I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be. I had no expectations coming in. I just try to hit every shot for what is is worth. My caddie did a great job of talking about everything except golf, so it was a very relaxed atmosphere. I felt like I was playing a practice round."

Burton, who ranks No. 22 on the career money list, attempted to keep her round in perspective. She rebounded from three bogeys over a four-hole stretch to shoot 2-under 69 for a two-day total of 136, one stroke behind the leaders.

"I feel pretty fortunate to finish the way I did," Burton said. "I was striking it really well and just kind of fell apart on the back nine. Sixteen (birdie) and 17 (eagle) saved my day."

Burton was pleased with her round, but not overly so. Today's a new day for Never Nervous Burton, an LPGA veteran who has won two majors.

"I was a little frustrated," she said. "I missed a few putts and hit a couple of bad irons all right in a row, but I think I was playing strong before that. I didn't play myself out of the tournament.

"I'll go to the range, but I am not going to bang balls for hours and hours. I'll figure it out. I'll play my game and hopefully strike it a little more consistently and get a few more putts to drop."

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