Suzann Pettersen and Mariajo Uribe Lead Manulife LPGA Classic


After a 2nd day of extraordinarily low numbers at Whistle Bear Suzann Pettersen and Mariajo Uribe are sitting on the top of the Manulife LPGA Classic leaderboard and leading the field into the weekend at 13-under par.  It’s an interesting pairing in a tournament that’s delivering one golf surprise after another.

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Suzann Pettersen, with 14 Tour wins on her resume, hasn’t seen a victory since the 2013 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.  Mariajo Uribe, playing her 6th year on the Tour, is going into the weekend playing for her first Tour win.  I can’t imagine two more determined players facing off against each other!

Pettersen and Uribe are both playing their A games this week — Pettersen has carded two blemish-free rounds — but they’re not alone at the top of the board.  The Whistle Bear track has been very receptive and with birdies dropping seemingly everywhere scores are running low.

Seventy players made the cut at 4-under 140, a new all-time LPGA Tour record for low cut at a par 72 course. (The previous record was 3-under par which happened on five previous occasions, and the previous low cut this season was 2-under 142 at the JTBC Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.)

Given the low scores, it’s no surprise that 10 players are going into the weekend with double digit red numbers, just below Pettersen and Uribe.  Cristie Kerr is just one birdie away from making it a 3-way tie at the top of the board and she certainly has the putter to tie things up.

The seven players starting the weekend at 11-under and trailing the leaders by two shots are an interesting mix:  Yani Tseng, who’s struggled heroically and publicly to reclaim her A game; Rolex ranked number 453 Victoria Elizabeth, a 3rd year player who has yet to finish inside the top-10; Kim Kaufman, who played her way to her Tour card with a spectacular finish at the 2014 North Texas Shootout but who’s stayed in the middle of the leaderboard this season; Hyo Joo Kim, the rookie with 2 wins and 9 additional top-10 finishes; Pernilla Lindberg, playing her 5th year on the Tour and looking for her first victory; Brittany Lang, who’s trying to play her way onto the US Solheim Cup team — a win this week would probably secure her spot; and rookie Laetitia Beck, a fine collegiate golfers who hasn’t quite found her rhythm on the Tour.

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Shanshan Feng and Julieta Granada, both at 10-under par and trailing the leaders by three shots, fill out the group going into the weekend with double digit red numbers.

With the exception of Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Morgan Pressel and Karrie Webb, who all uncharacteristically missed the cut, and Lydia Ko, who’s languishing well down the board at 5-under par, I hardly know who to watch.

Minjee Lee, Katie Burnett, Sandra Gal and Catriona Matthew are all teeing off Saturday with very respectable 9-under par scores.  They’re right there in the mix.

Cheyenne Woods, who did such a fine job of setting the 1st round pace, fell back today.  Her four birdies couldn’t make up for the three bogeys and a double.  Still, Woods will go into the weekend at 8-under par, alongside Charley Hull, who’s chugging right along with a pair of 68s on her scorecards right now.  A birdie binge would put either of them right back into contention.

This is still a wide-open tournament, and the odds are very good that we’ll see another shakeup on the leaderboard Saturday.  It’s going to be a perfect day for golf, with temperatures in the mid-60s and light winds, but the players need to take advantage of this perfect weather because rain is forecast for Sunday.

Saturday tee times for the Manulife LPGA Classic begin at 8am, ET with the final group, Pettersen, Uribe and Kerr, teeing off at 12:40pm.  Golf Channel coverage of Saturday’s round begins at 2:30pm, and ProGolf Now will provide ongoing commentary throughout the tournament.

Next: David Lingmerth Leads at the Memorial