ST. ANDREWS, Scotland —
Even as the second round was finishing, it was clear this was a special round.
From the late side of the draw, only one other player to break 70 was Hee Young Park, who had a 69. There already were four rounds in the 80s.
Birdies were mainly available on the outward nine, and it was all about hanging on from the 12th through the 17th holes. Choi hit a 3-hybrid off the tee on the 16th and a 3-wood into the green, and she hit driver and 3-wood to finish just short of the 17th green in two. From about 45 yards, she putted the ball to 3 feet for a tough par.
Park spoke about having nerves before she teed off Thursday. She conceded after the second round she felt the pressure of this historic chance when she first arrived at St. Andrews. She didn’t see it as a burden, but an opportunity, saying that no matter what happens this week, it would teach her to handle any situation the rest of her career.
“When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you’re just really not afraid of any kind of pressure,” Park said. “How can it get bigger than this? Anything is going to be less than this.”
After making birdie on the 18th, she did an interview with ESPN and then Golf Channel. After that, she stopped for a group of Korean TV reporters who barked out instructions on where she should stand and to the two employees holding microphones. As she spoke to 10 reporters after that, someone asked if she imagined having so much media gathered around her to ask so many questions.
“Well, this is pretty much the only week I’m going to get that much, so I should enjoy this moment,” Park said. “I’m trying to enjoy every moment that I’m here.”
More than the eight shots separating her from the lead were the two dozen players ahead of her, starting with Choi, a close friend and fellow major champion.