After finishing T15 at the 2022 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Amelia Lewis and Paula Reto, aka Team Hot Shots, have returned to Midland, Michigan, and improved upon their string of great play at Midland Country Club.
This time last year, the duo sat at T12 with a total of 132 after a round each of foursomes and fourball play. This year, they lead the field at -14 thanks largely to a second-round 61, the second lowest round of the day. The duo got off to what they described as a “rough start” with a bogey on No. 2 and a weather delay that suspended their round early. But after a pep talk on No. 5, Reto holed out from the right side rough to earn an eagle for the team.
“I hit a little shot to the right. Everyone else was in the fairway. I was like, ‘It's okay. I got a good little line open to the flag…’ The wind was helping, so I hit one club less, and I hit it really strong, nice. ‘Okay, it's going to be close,’ and then, bang, one hop and then in the hole. So I was, like, okay, this could be the start of the birdie train,” Reto said, adding with a laugh, “Amelia picked up on the fairway.”
It was, in fact, a kickstart to a string of birdies for the team. The Hot Shots birdied Nos. 7, 8 and 9 to make the turn at 30, then added four more on 11, 12, 14 and 15 to finish -9 on the day. For Lewis, who has played primarily on the Epson Tour this year with just one LPGA Tour start at the Dana Open, this is the first post-round lead she has held on the LPGA Tour. Reto has been in this position a few times before, most notably when she won the 2022 CPKC Women’s Open.
In T2 heading into round three are Englishwoman Jodi-Ewart Shadoff and American Emma Talley, who shot the low round of the day with a bogey free 10-under 60. The two have played this event together three times with a best finish of T31. They are joined in second by last year’s runners up Matilda Castren and Kelly Tan, who improved upon their 2022 second-round score of 130 with a two-day, 13-under 127 this year.
“I think the biggest thing for us was the alternate shot yesterday because I felt like we played as well with best ball. I don't know what we shot (in 2022), but I felt like the alternate shot yesterday really was the difference between this year and last year,” Tan said.
Castren agreed, saying, “All we want to do is put ourselves in a good position. I think we can be really happy how we played yesterday and have that same kind of comfort level going into (foursomes) tomorrow.”
Thirty-seven teams made the cut at -3 and will be playing foursomes again on Friday. Notable teams to miss the cut are major champions Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson, 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Ruoning Yin and partner Xiaowen Yin, and Georgia Hall and Ryann O’Toole.
Jane Park, who returned to the LPGA Tour after almost two years away, missed the cut along with partner Paula Creamer. Park, who said this event may be her “swan song,” was determined to leave the LPGA Tour on her own terms after having to step away from the game due to her daughter’s health problems. Her daughter, Grace, suffered a series of undiagnosed seizures in 2021 when she was 10 months old and was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.