East Palestine teen stays in front in LPGA event

Associated Press


Ariya Jutanugarn weathered the wind and kept her lead Friday in the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship.

The 17-year-old Thai player missed three short par putts early, but rolled in a 45-footer and two others for birdie on the wind-swept River Course in an even-par 71 that gave her a one-stroke lead at 7 under.

A day after shooting a 64, Jutanugarn started with a three-putt bogey on her first hole and, with the wind making it difficult to control the ball, said she tried to play safer than normal, and found that didn’t work.

“It made me want to go back to my game on the back nine,” the normally aggressive player said.

A birdie at the par-5 seventh — her 16th hole of the day — gave her the outright lead, and she finished with two pars.

East Palestine’s Alex Casi, a Monday qualifier, shot a 76 and missed the cut after opening with a 75 on Thursday.

Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford, both a shot back after 68s, had the best rounds of the day. Both played early and came off the course saying the wind was picking up.

Suzann Pettersen, the 2007 winner, and Sandra Gal shot 69 and found themselves in a tie for fourth when two-time Kingsmill champion Cristie Kerr chunked a chip shot and bogeyed the final hole.

“It’s a round where you needed to kind of stay around the lead and not take yourself out of it,” she said.

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