Australia's Katherine Kirk
Aussies Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright are in the top 10 heading into the weekend at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I.
The pair, who will be part of Australia’s team next week in the inaugural International Crown are at five-under-par and share 8th position at five-under-par. They are six shot back from the American Laura Diaz who followed up her 62 and 69 to be atop of the leaderboard at 11-under-par.
Just when it appeared like 39-year-old Laura Diaz’s return to the top of an LPGA leaderboard after a first-round 62 might be a temporary blip in a nice early week story, she birdied three of her final four holes to emerge from a three-way tie for the lead with a three-shot lead after the second round at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I. Rolex World No.2 Lydia Ko (67) and South African Lee-Anne Pace (68) are leading the chase at 8-under.
The 2012 winner here So Yeon Ryu and Rebecca Lee-Bentham are four shots back of the lead in a tie for fourth at 7-under. Three other times Diaz has led this event after two rounds – 2009, 2003 and 2002 – but faded on the weekend and finished tied for 42, tied for 8th, and tied for 3rd those years, respectively.
That 2009 lead was the last time she’s been in this position heading into a round on Saturday and she was admittedly nervous in that position on Friday. “For me, it was just a challenge because I haven’t been in this position in a very long time. For sure haven’t had cameras on me in a long time,” she said. “So I was anxious for them to go away I think in a funny kind of way.” Keep playing like she has so far and there’s no chance the cameras are departing.
The mother of two has two career victories – both in 2002 – and her last top-10 finish came four years ago at the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship where she tied for fifth.
For the Australians it has been a good week thus far. Kirk has fired rounds of 69 and 68, while Wright has carded rounds of 67 and 70 to be at five-under. Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith (71) is at one-under-par and tied for 46th. Julia Boland made it thru to the week-end on the cut number at one-over.
Unfortunately Sarah Kemp and Stacey Keating missed the cut.