Karrie Webb and Sarah Jane Smith were just four off the leaders at the JTBC Founders Cup when first-round play was called for the day due to darkness at 6:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.
The Aussie duo were at two-under-par when play was suspended, Webb had played six holes, while Smith had completed 10 holes in the weather interrupted first round. Four players sit tied atop the leaderboard at the JTBC Founders Cup, Rolex Ranking No. 1 Lydia Ko, Tiffany Joh, Kim Kaufman and Sophia Popov.
Tee times were delayed four hours on Thursday morning due to rain that caused unplayable conditions on the Wildfire Golf Club course at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
Webb is the defending champion this week, she is the only two-time winner of the event. Webb and Smith are currently tied for 33rd position.
There are three other Australians in the field, Sarah Kemp and Minjee Lee at both at even-par and in a share of 71st place. Kemp had completed nine holes, while Lee had just finished her fourth. Unfortunately for Katherine Kirk, she completed her first round but is back in a tied for 126th position.
Ko continued her strong play of late. Her 66 on Thursday extended the 17-year-old’s streak of consecutive rounds-under-par to 21, a streak that dates back to the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship last November.
Popov, a 22-year-old rookie, didn’t seem to be affected by the flu bug which had kept her in the hospital until Sunday. She was the last player to earn a spot in this week’s field when Azahara Munoz withdrew late last week. And Popov certainly took advantage of the opportunity to play, shooting her career low round in just the second LPGA event of her rookie season.
Joh birdied six of her first 10 holes to get off to a hot start before paring her way into the clubhouse. Kaufman bogeyed her first hole of the day, the 10th, but then caught fire as she shot consecutive 33s to put herself in a tie for the first-round lead when play was suspended.
For those 66 players not completing their rounds on Thursday, the resumption of round one will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning.
Round 2 is scheduled to begin at 10:30am off of the 1st and 10th tees.