SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The weather-plagued LPGA State Farm Classic at Panther Creek Country Club has been delayed again, with the final round being pushed back until Monday.
Cristie Kerr and Anna Nordqvist held the tournament lead Sunday at 20 under. Na On Min, Jee Young Lee, Katie Futcher, Gwladys Nocera and Na Yeon Choi were three shots off the pace.
It was debated whether to award the title to Kerr, the leader after 54 holes, and cancel the fourth round but LPGA rules official Jim Haley said they will try to finish the 72-hole tournament on Monday.
Players will attempt to tee off at 7:30 a.m. CDT. There is an 80 percent chance of rain on Monday.
“Because so many players finished their 72 holes, we decided to make every effort to give everyone the same chance,” Haley said. “We got more holes in than we thought we would today and it just wouldn’t be fair to everyone.”
Heavy rains fell Saturday for three hours, which delayed the completion of the third round until Sunday morning.
The tail end of a storm cell moved over the course from the north on Sunday afternoon, creating lightning strikes and more heavy rain. At 2:46 p.m., the course’s storm alert system triggered a halt in play.
Officials thought play could resume around 5:30 p.m. Water was cleared off the greens and tee boxes, but another quickly developing storm washed out play for the day.
Kerr started her third round fast on Saturday, posting an eagle on the par-5 No. 1 hole at Panther Creek. She added a birdie on No. 4 and was standing over a short birdie putt on the No. 5 when the storm alert system sounded with lightning in the area.
She maintained her momentum on Sunday, holing the birdie putt and then posting birdies on two of the last four holes. She shot 30 on the front nine and finished with a 63 in the third round. Her tournament total of 19 under gave her a three-stroke lead.
Nordqvist moved into second place alone with a third-round 65 and followed that with five birdies around a bogey on the nine holes she completed to climb into a tie with Kerr.
“It’s all about patience,” Nordqvist said. “I had a lot of momentum (Saturday) and I kept it going. I’m actually excited about a Monday finish.”
Especially since Nordqvist now has a chance to win the tournament.
“It takes a lot of energy not knowing what’s going to happen,” she said. “But it’s the same for everybody.”
Kerr cooled a bit between rounds on Sunday, carding just a single birdie over her first eight holes. She will be facing a short birdie putt when she begins play on Monday.
Min is the only player among the top eight golfers who finished her final round.
Karrie Webb and Yani Tseng shot 65 and 67, respectively, and are in a group of six at minus-16. Amy Yang has the most holes left in that bunch with 10. Sun Young Yoo was playing No. 15, first-round leader Shanshan Feng was at 13, and Hee Young Park was on 12 when the storms came.
Second-round leader M.J. Hur fell off a quick pace set before the postponement to a third-round 71. Defending champion In-Kyung Kim was steady all weekend, shooting a 275, but she never approached the top 10.