LOS ANGELES: Australia’s Katherine Kirk fired her second-round 63 before storms set in Friday to seize the lead in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin.
Kirk, seeking a third LPGA career title, had eight birdies and an eagle in her nine-under effort and was in the clubhouse on 13-under 131 before thunderstorms halted play for more than three hours.
She was three strokes in front of Jaye Marie Green, who carded a 66 for 10-under 134. Germany’s Sandra Gal was also 10-under for the tournament through 13 holes when darkness halted play.
Four players were in the clubhouse on 135. South African Ashleigh Buhai carded a 66 to get to nine-under,
Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan and Moriya Jutanugarn both posted 68s as did South Korean Lee Il-Hee.
Moriya was carrying the family flag after her sister Ariya, at number two in the world the highest ranked player in
the field, withdrew during the weather break.
After struggling to a six-over round on Thursday, Ariya was four-over through seven holes—10-over for the tournament—and pulled out citing a shoulder injury.
By that time, Kirk’s round was in the books.
“I think it might be my best (round) on the LPGA,” the veteran said.
“I felt like I was striking it well yesterday, I just didn’t really capitalize. My philosophy was just keep giving myself chances even if I’m 10-over par and still try and make birdies coming in.”
“You know things are going right when you’re hitting a little 4-hybrid in to four feet,” Kirk said. “The greens for us are softer than usual, so we’re able to basically throw darts at it.”
“It is sometimes definitely a putting competition when the greens are this soft.”
After two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, Green fired six birdies coming in, capping her round with a birdie at the last.
“Well, I shot even par on my front nine. I couldn’t really get a lot going, and then kind of everything was going pretty well on the back,” she said.
“I was hitting fairways, hit it close, and then when I did, I made the putt.”