Saso stays in hunt as play halted anew in Cognizant Founders Cup
MANILA, Philippines — No major shakeup ensued as thick fog caused another delay in tee-times that led to another suspension in the Cognizant Founders Cup.
Korean Jin Young Ko stayed at the helm with a strong frontside fightback of two birdies to post a running 10-under overall card with four holes to play with American Lindsey Weaver assembling a 36-hole seven-under 135 at completion of her second round play at the Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
Yuka Saso groped in near dusk and yielded a stroke on No. 2 then parred the next two holes to preserve a one-under card when play was halted for the second straight day due to darkness.
But Ko shot back-to-back birdies from the second hole, also on her homeward trip to post a two-under card after 14 holes and keep the clubhouse lead as the $3 million event continued its start-and-stop kind of play at the foggy par-71 layout.
A two-and-a-half hour delay Friday had led to another stoppage, stranding 63 players, including Ko, Saso and a host of others in the hunt. They will resume play early Saturday with the third round set to fire off no earlier than 10:30 a.m.
Ko, who dazzled with a 63 in a morning start Thursday to wrest a three-stroke lead over Sandra Cal, shook off a so-so one-bogey, one-birdie backside stint that however enabled her pursuers, including American Lindsey Weaver, Korean So Yeon Ryu and Perrine Delacour of France, to close in.
But the world No. 2 regained her touch and birdied Nos. 2 and 3 then parred the next two before play was halted, keeping a three-shot clubhouse lead, this time over Weaver, who managed to wrap up her round she spiked with four birdies in a stirring backside start for a 67 and a seven-under 135.
Weaver actually had a running five-under card but rushed her way to the ninth tee to just beat the horn, ending up instead with a bogey.
Saso, four shots adrift of Ko after 18 holes with a 67, birdied two of the first four holes at the back in a late start as she pulled to within two but after trading a bogey on No. 16 with a second straight birdie on the 18th, she dropped a stroke on the second hole to slip to provisional joint ninth at five-under, now five shots off the pace.
But the mishap hardly shook the confidence of the ICTSI-backed shotmaker, who stayed in top form off the mound, missing just one fairway in 11 holes. Though she went out of regulation four times, the Fil-Japanese rescued two pars from the bunkers. She, however, continued to probe her putting stroke, making 23 putts with five holes to play.
Dottie Ardina, meanwhile, worked her way back into contention for a spot into the weekend, gunning down birdies on Nos. 14 and 16. Also backed by the leading global port operator, the Cangolf pro parred the next before heading to the clubhouse, invigorated by her surge from joint 55th to a share of 28th with so many holes to play early Saturday.
Meanwhile, So and Delacour had three-under cards when play was stopped with the Korean shooting four birdies against a bogey after 14 holes and the latter looking good after 11 holes with a three-birdie blast at the back and two pars at the front for a pair of running seven-under totals.
Among those who completed their second round stints were Chinese Xiyu Lin and Koreans Chela Choi and Jenny Shin, who matched 68s for the second straight day for provisional joint fifth at 136.
Evian Championship winner Minjee Lee of Australia and Germany’s Caroline Masson fought back with 68s to assemble 137s in a tie with Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who nearly blew a fiery backside 33 with bogeys on Nos. 1 and 4 for a 70.
World No. 1 Nelly Korda also struggled a bit in a late tee-off after a 67, mixing three birdies with two bogeys with three holes to play to join Saso and a slew of others at provisional five-under total.
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