Colombia’s Paola Moreno was closing in on a first LPGA title on Saturday, firing a four-under 41 in the 12-hole second round of the inaugural Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.
After 24 of a scheduled 36 holes, Moreno had a nine-under total of 81 and was one stroke in front of Australia’s Lindsey Wright.
Wright birdied a sensational seven of her 12 holes in the second round to lie eight-under through 24 holes.
The truncated format was forced by a massive storm on Tuesday last week that dropped more than 30cm of rain on the Ocean Club Golf Course.
“It’s been exciting, and I just focus on what I can control and the holes ahead of me,” Moreno said. “I’m very excited for tomorrow [Sunday].”
Moreno has two victories on the Symetra Tour and finished second on the Road to the LPGA last season to regain her LPGA status.
A tie for 23rd at the LPGA LOTTE Championship is Moreno’s career-best finish.
“The only thing that matters right now is the first tee tomorrow,” she said.
Her four birdies on Saturday included a 25-foot putt at the sixth.
Wright put her sizzling 38 down to “faultless golf.”
“I didn’t make any mistakes. I made a ton of putts,” said the Australian, whose best LPGA finish came at the 2009 LPGA Championship, where she was runner-up.
She won three times on the Symetra Tour before joining the LPGA in 2005.
South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada were tied for third on seven-under.
Seven players were tied at six-under, including Cristie Kerr of the US, who was back in action at the weekend for the first time since winning the Kingsmill Championship earlier this month.
Kerr was joined at six-under by fellow Americans Heather Bowie Young and Mina Harigae, South Korea’s Seo Hee-kyung, Lee Il-hee and Park Hee-young, and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist.
The best-placed Taiwanese player was Amy Hung on an even-par 90, while former world No. 1 Yani Tseng was on one-over 91 and Candie Kung was on four-over 94.
Officials came up with the plan for three rounds of 12 holes in a bid to complete the 36 holes that are required for a tournament to be official. On Saturday, the LPGA said in a statement it was on track to achieve that goal.
“Tournament officials expect to complete 36 holes of golf by Sunday evening, making the inaugural Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic an official event with official money,” the tour said in a statement. “If the final round of 12 holes cannot be completed for any reason, the tournament will revert back to a 24-hole unofficial event with unofficial money paid based on performance over the first two rounds.”
Additional reporting by staff writer