Poor ball-striking ages rookie Esther Henseleit, but she remains positive

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LPGA rookie Esther Henseleit might have felt “10 years older” after a poor ball-striking day on Saturday at the Marathon LPGA Classic, but she still managed to shoot 4-under 67 and remain in fourth place, though now seven shots behind leader Nasa Hataoka.  

“My ball-striking was so bad today,” said the young German, who still made seven birdies in total and zero bogeys on the back nine. “I think I hit one good iron shot today, so it really was a grind out there. I made a lot of up and downs, holed a few good putts, and it just wasn't that easy out there for me today.”

Henseleit persevered and prevailed on the last two holes, finishing her round with consecutive birdies on the back-to-back par-5s. “Had quite a tough pitch over the bunker,” Henseleit said referring to her third shot on No. 17. “Almost holed it, so that one was nice.”

She hit her second shot over the green on No. 18. Her third shot required another delicate pitch and she earned an easy 2-foot birdie putt, which she made.

Full-field scores from the Marathon LPGA Classic

At 12 under, Henseleit may be well behind Hataoka, who shot 64 to move to 19 under, but she is one shot back of the second-place duo of Mina Hariage and Elizabeth Szokol.

“I will try to attack her and do everything I can,” Henseleit said of chasing down Hataoka. “Shoot as many birdies tomorrow and then we’ll see how it is in the end.”

Her inconsistent ball-striking does not make her nervous for Sunday.

“I know that I can play 4-under with terrible ball striking, and that really gives me confidence,” she added. “I'm not really worried about it because yesterday it [the ball-striking] was so good. I just need to get that feeling back, have a good rest tonight and then I'm ready for tomorrow.”