Christina Kim and Kristy McPherson battled gusting winds to finish tied for the lead on six-under 138 on Friday after two rounds of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Cristie Kerr had the best score in the blustery weather, turning in a four-under 68 at the Mission Hills Country Club to move into third place at five-under 139 in the first women’s major on this year’s Tour.
McPherson, who has yet to finish better than fourth in an LPGA tournament, nabbed four birdies en route to a 70.
“It definitely played a lot different, a lot tougher,” McPherson said. “You have to account for downwind or into the wind and how much release into the greens.”
Kim had a strong finish to the round with birdies at her last two holes to complete a 69.
Kim had four birdies on the front nine, but bogeyed three of the next five holes.
“I got off to a pretty quick start, I was four-under through nine and ecstatic about it,” said Kim, who is seeking her first LPGA victory since 2005.
Overnight leader Brittany Lincicome fell to fourth with a 72 that left her on four-under 140.
It was a further stroke back to South Korea’s Jimin Kang (70) and Australian Lindsey Wright (71).
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng shot a three-over 75 on Friday to be even-par for the tournament in joint 15th, while Candie Kung shot a 73 to sit one-over in joint 18th place.
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa was tied for 26th after her second straight 73.
Doug Brecht, LPGA vice president rules and competition, said officials kept an eye on the weather, but didn’t see a reason to halt the round.
“We had an occasional limb blow out of a tree,” he said. “We didn’t see a large amount of palm fronds or anything like that.”
Michelle Wie struggled with the windy conditions, barely making the cut at eight-over. Wie had three bogeys and two double-bogeys over the final seven holes as she posted an 81.
AFP, HOUSTON, TEXAS
England’s Paul Casey seized the clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted Houston Open on Friday as one of only five players to complete the second round before darkness halted play.
Casey carded a second-round 72 for an eight-under total of 136.
On the course, Australians Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden were also at eight-under when play was suspended.
Ogilvy, who started on the back nine, had four holes to play, while Senden, who was one of a trio sharing the first-round lead, was through 10 holes.
Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, opened the second round with a par at No.10 and birdied the next four holes before a bogey at the par-five 15th.
He then nabbed three more birdies from the 16th — despite finding the rough at 17 and a fairway bunker at 18.
Ogilvy was slowed by a double-bogey at the second and a bogey at four to fall to eight-under.
AFP, ESTORIL, PORTUGAL
Ross McGowan recovered from a disastrous start in testing, windy conditions to maintain his lead at the Portugal Open after two rounds on Friday.
The Englishman, who led by two overnight, dropped three shots in the first nine holes before carding birdies on the 11th and 13th for a second round 73.
He is five-under for the tournament and leads Scotland’s Chris Doak by just one shot.
Doak has moved up 450 places in the world rankings, although he still stands at a modest 865.
He could climb into the top 300 by winning today.