Seven-time major winner Inbee Park has a one-shot lead over Open champion Sophia Popov heading into the weekend at the Kia Classic, while Mel Reid is just three off the pace.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 27/03/21 2:12am
Mel Reid stayed in contention for her second LPGA title as she fired a solid 70 to lie three shots behind halfway leader Inbee Park at the Kia Classic.
Reid kept mistakes at bay and carded two birdies and 16 pars to reach six under par, while Women’s Open champion Sophia Popov jumped into second place after following her opening 69 with a six-birdie 68.
Park leads the way heading into the weekend at Carlsbad in California, covering the back nine in 35 before three birdies in five holes lifted her to 10 under, although the South Korean dropped her first shot of the week at the seventh.
The seven-time major champion closed on nine under to remain a shot ahead of Popov, who was five under for the day after 12 holes before her challenge stalled with back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and sixth.
The German got one shot back at the next to ensure a place in Saturday’s final group with Park and Reid, who is in outright third after 36 holes having parred every hole on the inward half as she missed a series of good chances to get closer to the leader.
“My putter was as cold as ice today,” said a frustrated Reid. “I felt like I hit it good, I think I missed one green. I didn’t drive it as quite well as I would normally drive it, but I feel like I’m in a good spot. I’m hitting it good.
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“I just need a few more putts to drop. I was hitting good putts, it’s just tough to make putts in the afternoon. The greens do get a little bit bobbly in the afternoon and it’s hard to kind of keep the ball online. But bogey-free on a tough golf course, I would always take that.”
Reid is relishing the chance to play alongside a pair of major winners in Saturday’s final threeball, and she has a huge amount of respect for what Park has achieved in her stellar career.
“Inbee has won a lot,” she added. “I’m obviously going to have to play well to get the job done over the weekend having a couple major champions ahead of me. Inbee arguably one of the best golfers that’s ever played our game.
“Yeah, it is going to be a lot of fun. Obviously I’m good friends with Sophia, so it should be a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”
Bronte Law (72) and Stephanie Meadow (75) were two of only 24 players to reach the halfway stage under par, while Charley Hull made four birdies over her last eight holes to card a 70 and make it safely through to the weekend on two over.
But Georgia Hall (+6) has an extra two days to practice ahead of next week’s first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, along with the returning Michelle Wie West.
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Wie shaved seven shots off her opening 82 to finish on 11 over in her first tournament for almost two years, and she said: “I was rusty and, with yesterday’s windy conditions, that was tough to get back into it. But there’s a lot to learn from the last couple of days.
“I like today was a lot more consistent than yesterday. Obviously I’m still not where I want it to be, but I made a lot of progress, and that’s the best thing. If I can improve by seven strokes every single day, I’ll take it.”