The golf course and Bay Area weather may be winning. There was a first round fog delay and then a second round suspension due to weather at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Only 15% of the field broke par in the second round. Players who typically challenge the top of the board missed the cut – Charley Hull (+6), Yani Tseng (+6), Jessica Korda (+6) and Brittany Lincicome (+10). Conditions will improve for today’s round. With sun, temperatures in the mid-50s and winds blowing at 10-20 miles per hour throughout the round putting conditions will change again and players will need all their skills to manage those narrow, tree-lined fairways at Lake Merced Golf Club. Stacy Lewis, at the top of the leaderboard with -6, Lydia Ko and Karine Icher, trailing Lewis by one stroke and sharing 2nd place, will tee off together at 1:30pm local time. It’s Moving Day at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Who will move up?
Rolex Ranked No. 3 Lewis seems to have a good feel for the Lake Merced course. She’s delivered two consistent rounds, 69 and 69, under varying and difficult conditions. If she wants to hold the top spot on the board she’ll need more of the same, with just one or two more birdies on her card today.
Lydia Ko, No. 4, and Karine Icher, No. 30, managed to stay close to Lewis even though they both struggled on the putting surface yesterday. In the Lewis, Ko & Icher threesome I think the scores may rise and fall based on who’s giving who a read on the greens. The last to putt will have the advantage not only in terms of distance but in terms of figuring out how fast the balls are rolling and the greens are breaking.
Inbee Park showed us yesterday how the top-ranked golfer in the world plays golf! With the low round of the day on her card — 68 — Park smoothly worked her way up the board from her starting 8th place to a share of the 4th slot, alongside Mika Miyazato and Ilhee Lee. They’ll start the third round trailing Lewis by three strokes and all three look poised to make a run for the lead today. Any of them could edge Lewis off the top of the board. They’re all putting very well, but I’m looking for Inbee Park to end today’s round sitting on top.
Catriona Matthew is also poised to continue her move up the board. Rolex Ranked No. 15 Matthew put two eagles on her card yesterday and rocketed up from a start at 30th to a share of 7th place. Although others struggled with the wind and rain the intrepid Scot thought the weather was a bit balmy. If she delivers another standout round then I could be wrong about Park.
Hometown favorites Michelle Wie, starting the third round at even par, and Paula Creamer, who fired off two birdies at the end of her round yesterday, on 16 and 17, and pulled herself to a +4, just above the cut line, don’t look to be in contention. But this is golf and there’s always the possibility of an amazing surprise on moving day. They’re both capable of delivering that kind of round today.
The first group, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Johnson and Maria McBride, tees off at 8:20am local time. Golf Channel will begin coverage mid-round at 6:30pm ET. It’s going to be a good golf day at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. I can feel it!