Inbee Park had to wait until Saturday morning to know for sure if she held the official midway lead at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.
With heavy fog from Long Island’s Peconic Bay forcing a suspension of play at Sebonack Golf Club at 6:40 p.m. ET on Friday, Park, seeking to become only the second player in LPGA history to win the first three majors of a season, was in the clubhouse at 9-under for the week and with a two-stroke edge over I.K. Kim. Forty players were still on the course when officials halted play for the evening but the only contestant with any chance of catching Park after the second round continued on Saturday was Jodi Ewart Shadoff, at 4-under through 15 holes.
Park, who would become the first golfer in 63 years to win the year's first three majors, got off to a quick start on Friday, with a birdie on the par-4 first hole. She put an exclamation point on her round with a birdie on the last as well, adding five more birds and two bogeys in between for a 4-under 68.
Park, with five tour wins in 2013, hoped to win her third straight major and conceded it was difficult not to consider the possibility, even with two rounds to go.
“It's tough not to think about it, but I'm ‑‑ I just try to think that's not a big deal,” she told reporters after draining a 12-foot putt on No. 18. “If I want to do it so much, it's just so tough and it puts too much pressure on you,” Park said. “Try to not think about so much.”
“I think we got very lucky that we finished today,” said Park. “I played very good golf today. I gave myself a lot of good opportunities, a very good ball-striking day. The long putts seemed to be going well today. I left a couple out there, but very satisfied with today's score.”
Park, the winner of the 2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship and Wegmans LPGA Championship has the chance to join Babe Zaharias in the record books. Zaharias pulled off the hat trick in 1950 when the tour played just three major tourneys.
The frontrunner’s closest competitor, Kim, is also Park’s good friend and South Korean countrywoman. Kim shot a second-round 69.
Second-round play was slated to resume at 7 a.m. on Saturday, with round three projected to start at about 10:30 a.m. with players going out in threesomes from the first and 10th tees.
Among those players less concerned with Saturday start times because they likely failed to make the cut, projected to be at 5-over, were former No. 1 Yani Tseng (7-over), the youngest and oldest players in the field (14-year-old Nelly Korda, at 6-over, and 53-year-old Juli Inkster, at 7-over), Pettersen (10-over), and Michelle Wie (11-over).
There are no words to explain how disappointed I am in myself right now...— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) June 28, 2013