Lydia Ko played enough golf on Thursday to catch up to the lead. She just did not play enough to finish the rain-delayed second round of the Coates Golf Championship.
Ko, the No. 1 player in golf making her 2016 debut, was four-under par for her round and had a 15-foot birdie putt on her final hole at the par-four ninth at Golden Ocala when the horn sounded to stop play because of thunderstorms in the area.
Ko was seven-under for the tournament, tied with Ha Na Jang.
Jang, who opened with a 65, did not hit a shot on Thursday. She was to tee off in the afternoon, but within an hour of play being stopped, several greens were already flooded. Play was suspended for the rest of Thursday and was scheduled to resume yesterday.
The 72-hole tournament is scheduled to end today.
Haru Nomura made seven birdies for a 66 and finished two rounds at six-under 136.
Michelle Wie was in a large group at four-under that included Suzann Pettersen, US Women’s Open champion In Gee Chun In-gee, Lexi Thompson and Juli Inkster, who birdied her opening hole of the second round before the storms arrived.
Ko started quickly on Thursday by opening with two birdies, but she birdied only one of the par-fives, though she never missed a fairway.
“I felt more comfortable today. I was pretty pleased to see all my balls finish in the fairway,” Ko said.
Ko played with Morgan Pressel, who was three-under, and Paula Creamer, who was even. They could tell storm clouds were approaching and Creamer jokingly said that play would be stopped right before they finished. All they could do was laugh when they reached the ninth green to mark their golf balls.
“At least we don’t have to go back to the range,” Pressel said.
Ko, the 18-year-old from New Zealand, is coming off a five-victory season that included her first major and LPGA player of the year. She conceded to having some rust during her start on Wednesday, though she was dialed in for much of her second round until the rain arrived.
Pettersen started with a 73. After making the turn, she birdied five of the next six holes — the exception was the par-five fifth — to get within range. Pettersen played with Stacy Lewis and Alison Lee.
Koahsiung-born Candie Kung of the US started on a 68, but was also unable to complete her round, finishing the day tied seventh on four-under-par.
Min Lee was the best-performing Taiwanese competitor, finishing her second round to tie for 44th with an even-par 73. The other Taiwanese competitor, Yani Tseng, was unable to complete her second round and finished one-over-par to tie for 58th.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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