• GOLF

    Norway’s Pettersen on top at weather-hit ANA Inspiration

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    LOS ANGELES: Norway’s Suzann Pettersen topped the leaderboard when darkness halted play in the weather-disrupted second round of the LPGA ANA Inspiration on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

    Pettersen was among the players unable to finish the first round on Thursday because of high winds that halted play.

    After wrapping up a first-round 68 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, she followed with a three-under par 69 for a seven-under total of 137.

    “I played really good,” Pettersen said. “It really hasn’t been that long of a day, but I played quite a bit of golf. Just Steady Eddie, just plugging along, hitting good shots, giving myself chances.”

    Pettersen is a three-time runner in the first women’s major of the year.

    “How can you not love this place? It’s heaven for golf and great surroundings,” she said. “Just really got to be on your A-game to feel like you can attack this course. I’m driving the ball well so I’m giving myself good irons into the greens.”

    A quartet of players were in the clubhouse one shot behind Pettersen.

    That included South Korea’s Park In-Bee, whose seven major titles include the 2013 ANA Inspiration.

    Park, who fought through a thumb injury to win Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last year, won her 18th LPGA title at the HSBC Champions in Singapore in March, proving her thumb was healed and she was again read to take on the world after a six month break to let her injury heal.

    Park admitted she had been worried about how long it would take to shake off the rust after such a long break.

    “But it didn’t take that long,” she said, although her renowned putting touch wasn’t much in evidence on Friday.

    “Actually really a nightmare on the greens for me today,” she said. “I’m really happy the way I’m hitting the ball but just putting was very disappointing.

    “But I had two rounds under par, which is good. and I had a tough day today — 27 holes and got it done, so happy with that.”

    American Nelly Korda also carded a second straight 69 to join the group on 138. Australia’s Minjee Lee posted a 68 and Cristie Kerr, who shared the first-round lead with France’s Karine Icher and Germany’s Caroline Mason, carded a 71 for a share of second at six-under.

    On the course Icher was six-under for the tournament with six to play, and Michelle Wie was six-under through eight.

    World number one and defending champion Lydia Ko of New Zealand carded a second straight 70 for 140 —good for a share of 11th when play was halted.

    She remained neck-and-neck with Ariya Jutanugarn, the Thai talent who has Ko’s world number one ranking in her sights and who also carded a 70 for 140.

    AFP

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