USC sophomore Jennifer Song in top 10 at Kraft Nabisco Championship
USC sophomore Jennifer Song plans to turn professional this summer, but she’s already playing -- and thinking -- like someone who gets paid to play.
Playing in the Kraft Nabisco Championship on a sponsor invitation, she shot one-under par for the second consecutive day Friday in the second round at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage and moved into the top 10, four strokes behind leader Karen Stupples when she finished play.
She used some skillful scrambling to salvage a good score Friday after hitting only seven fairways and six greens in regulation.
“I was really impressed with my own short game,” Song said. “I’m really happy with where I’m standing. It was really intense out there. The conditions are really challenging. I couldn’t relax because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Many amateurs playing on sponsor exemptions show up with the goal of simply making the cut. Song is not one of them. She came here to win.
“Everybody comes to win the tournament,” she said. “I’ll be really happy if I make the top five. I don’t think about the cut when I come to a tournament. For me, internally, I think it keeps me in a positive state. I just keep telling myself to believe in myself because I have the game.”
Indeed she does. Last summer Song won the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Public Links titles and was the low amateur in last year’s U.S. Women’s Open when she tied for 13th.
But as much as she is playing like a pro, there are always reminders that she’s still a college student. She has two midterms on Monday and has been studying in between rounds this week. Luckily, the exams are in psychology and stress management, a couple of topics that come in handy during a major championship.
“It’s ironic,” she said.
And even though the accomplished amateur is turning professional after the Curtis Cup in June, she is still trying her best in her school work.
“I don’t want to slack,” she said.
-- Peter Yoon
Photo: Jennifer Song. Credit: David Cannon, Getty Images.