PITTSFORD, N.Y. » As confident as Cristie Kerr is playing, the top-ranked American was left surprised with how she ran away from the pack in the second round of the LPGA Championship yesterday.
"I played awesome today," Kerr exclaimed. "I don’t think anybody expected anybody to be in double digits after two days. But you know what, keep my head down and keep going."
The 14-year tour veteran, and 13-time winner, is two rounds from claiming her second major title after shooting a 6-under 66 to take a five-stroke lead at 10 under on the Locust Hill Country Club course. The 2007 U.S. Women’s Open Champion opened the day in a three-way tie for the lead before taking control by scrambling out of trouble several times to produce a bogey-free round.
She birdied four of her last five holes to pull away with the low score of the round.
Inbee Park, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion, and Mika Miyazato were tied for second at 5 under after 70s. Brittany Lincicome (69) and Amy Yang (67) were 4 under in a field that has only 17 players at below par in the tour’s second major. Hawaii’s Michelle Wie shot a 2-over 74 yesterday and is tied for 36th, 12 strokes back.
Park was impressed by Kerr’s score, but wasn’t prepared to concede anything just yet.
"No, not at all. It’s still two days of golf left out there," Park said. "Anything could happen on this golf course."
Much did happen to Kerr, and she managed to overcome it.
Despite hitting five of 14 fairways, Kerr muscled through the heavy rough that protects the narrow 6,506-yard course. That included a perfectly placed 135-yard shot she punched through a small opening between a pair of trees to bounce it on the green to save par on No. 16. She holed a 23-footer for birdie on No. 17, then tapped in on 18 for her final birdie after hitting a 6-iron within a foot.
"Weightlifting," Kerr cracked, referring to playing out of the rough. "I ended up getting some pretty good lies, some not so good lies, but I managed. When you are in the rough, don’t try to be a hero."
Rose moves ahead
Justin Rose shot an 8-under 62, birdieing five consecutive back-nine holes for the second straight day, to take a four-stroke lead over Kevin Sutherland in the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
Rose, the Memorial winner three weeks ago who failed to qualify for the U.S. Open last week at Pebble Beach, broke the tournament record for the first 36 holes, finishing at 14-under 126. The 62 was one off the course record at TPC River Highlands.
Levi out in front
Wayne Levi shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Brad Bryant and Dan Forsman after one round of the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Mark Calcavecchia, vying to become just the 16th player to win his first start on the Champions Tour, was another shot back in a tie for fourth with defending champion Lonnie Nielsen, Fred Funk, Olin Browne and Blaine McCallister.
Eagles put Dredge on top
Wales’ Bradley Dredge had two eagles in a round of 5-under to take a one-stroke lead in the BMW International Open.
Dredge had a 13-under 131 total at Munich Nord-Eichenried Golf Club. Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal (66) was second, and Spain’s Ignacio Garrido (66) and Scotland’s Peter Whiteford (69) followed at 11 under. Ernie Els (72) missed the cut when he failed to convert a 15-foot eagle putt on the last green.
WAPL final pair set
Lisa McCloskey and Emily Tubert will play 36 holes for the Women’s Amateur Public Links championship in South Bend, Ind.
McCloskey took a 3-and-2 win over Ellen Mueller in her semifinal match yesterday. Tubert needed 19 holes to oust Sara Grantham. McCloskey, who will be a junior at Southern California, and Tubert, who will enter Arkansas in the fall, will meet today at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course.