American Cristie Kerr birdied the par-5 18th hole to seize a one-stroke lead over Scotland’s Catriona Matthew after the second round of the 54-hole LPGA ShopRite Classic in Gallloway, New Jersey, on Saturday.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng rebounded from her struggles on the first day with a three-under-par 68, but remained seven strokes back at 141.
Kerr opened with three consecutive birdies and fired eight birdies in all during a six-under par 65 second round that left her atop the leaderboard on eight-under 134 after 36 holes of the US$1.5 million event.
After a birdie putt from off the green at the first hole, Kerr dropped a seven-iron approach near the cup to set up another birdie and then reached the green in two shots on the par-5 third.
Following up her sizzling start with birdies at the par-4 eighth and par-4 11th holes, Kerr suffered her lone setback of the round with a double bogey at the par-4 12th.
Kerr responded with a 30-foot birdie putt at 14, another birdie at 16 and another at the last, where she sank an eight-foot birdie putt to move ahead of Matthew, her playing partner in the final group yesterday. Kerr, 33, is seeking her first victory of the season and the 15th of her LPGA career. She captured the ShopRite title seven years ago.
Matthew, who closed the front and back nines with birdies, could become at age 41 the oldest winner of an LPGA event since Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson won in China at age 43 in 2008.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER