GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Cristie Kerr birdied the final hole for a 6-under 65 and a one-shot lead Saturday over Catriona Matthew after the second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
The 33-year-old Kerr rolled in three of her eight birdies after making a double bogey on the 12th hole on the Bay Course at Seaview. Kerr capped the round with an 8-footer at the par-5 18th to put herself in position to win for the first time this year and for the 15th time in her LPGA career.
Kerr, who won this event in 2004, had an 8-under 134 total after a round that was played in a slight breeze in stark contrast to the 20 mph wind that blew Friday.
There were 53 sub-par rounds in the second round compared to 13 the day before and, if the conditions don’t change, a low score will probably be needed Sunday to collect the top prize of $225,000.
“Obviously that’s the plan,” Kerr said. “But you don’t know if it’s going to blow 30 mph or rain. You just have to feel out the conditions and see what the optimum score will be in those kinds of those conditions. Shooting even par, I know, is not going to get it done.”
Matthew is looking to become the first player in her 40s to win on the LPGA Tour since Helen Alfredsson won in China in 2008 at 43. The 41-year-old mother of two who has won only three times in 17 years on tour, had a 67 on Saturday. Her last win was the 2009 British Women’s Open, 11 weeks after she gave birth to her second child.
“As you said, I’ve been on tour a long time,” said Matthew, who had six birdies and two bogeys. “I’ve learned from those situations before and I’ll be nervous tomorrow. So I just need to hopefully learn from being there in the past and cope with it.”
Brittany Lincicome, looking for her first win since 2009, was alone at 6 under after shooting a tournament-best 64 that featured seven birdies and no bogeys.
“I drove it well, I hit it to most of the greens well and I just seemed to make everything,” said Lincicome, who was tied for 30th after the opening round. “Nothing really went in yesterday so I must have been saving them for today.”
Lincicome has not won since capturing the Kraft Nabisco Championship with an eagle on the final hole for her first and only major.
“I am just looking to win and get back in the winner’s area, even the same zip code,” she said. “It’s been a while so it’s nice to be near the top of the leaderboard. It’s nice to be back in the media room and getting asked questions about my round. Everything is going in the right direction. I am working hard and playing well.”
Kerr made one mistake, missing the small green at No. 12, a 320-yard par 4. Her flop shot on her third shot ran off the green and her chip ran about 8 feet past the hole. When she missed the putt she fell two shots behind Matthew, but rallied with a 30-foot birdie at No. 14, a birdie on the par-3 16th and then the final hole.
First-round leader Jiyai Shin (71), fellow South Korean Amy Yang (67) and American Mindy Kim (65) were tied for fourth place, three shots behind Kerr. Brittany Lang (66) and Shi Hyun Ahn (67) were four shots behind the leader.
Anna Nordqvist (68), Katie Futcher (68), I.K. Kim (70), Karen Stupples (70) and Haeji Kang were all at 139, five out.
There were some amazing second round turnarounds.
Birdie Kim followed an opening-round 85 with a 70, but still missed the cut at 4 over. Beatriz Recari of Spain shot a second-round 65 to move from a tie for 89th to a tie for 20th at 1 under. Sandra Gal, who was a shot behind Shin after the opening round, had a 74 and also was at 1 under.
Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer were at 1 over after rounds of 71.