By Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Paradise Island, Bahamas – A three-foot birdie putt at the difficult par-4 eighth hole Saturday lifted Gerina Piller into the overnight lead at 10 under par at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, but that lead is tenuous with six players a stroke behind and 26 players within four shots heading into the final day.
Only six of the 74 players who made the cut completed the third round before play was suspended by darkness at 5:53 p.m. EST. The tournament will resume at 8 a.m. Sunday, and the final round will begin immediately after at 9:38 a.m. without the field being re-paired.
A sixth-year pro from Plano, Texas, Piller was 3 under through nine holes and was first player to reach 10 under par. She is seeking her first LPGA title.
“I just made a few birdies coming in and just really tried to stay patient as far as taking my time out there and really being committed to my target, my number we picked, my club and everything,” said Piller, 29, whose best career finish was second place at the 2013 CME Group Titleholders. “Yeah, it’s worked so far.”
The large group tied for second included reigning Kraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson, who was 7 under on her round with two holes remaining. Thompson, who began on the 10th tee, ran off five straight birdies starting at the 15th to climb into contention. Stacy Lewis, playing in the same group, was 6 under and was one of six players at 8 under par.
Also at 9 under was first- and second round co-leader Brooke Pancake, who also seeks her first LPGA victory. She was 1 under par through seven holes. Others at that mark: Perrine Delacour, 4 under through 12; Kelly Shon, 3 under through 10; Sandra Gal, 2 under through 9; and Sei Young Kim, 1 under through 9, who also had a share of the second round lead.
Inbee Park, the other second-round co-leader, was at even par after seven holes and joined Lewis and four others at 8 under par.
The second round was completed Saturday at approximately 12:30 p.m. EST with 74 players making the cut of 1-over 147. Among those who failed to advance included reigning Women’s British Open champion Mo Martin (79-153), reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie (75-151), and former U.S. Open winner Cristie Kerr (72-148).
Na Yeon Choi, who last week won the LPGA season opener in Ocala, Fla., the Coates Golf Championship, also missed the cut at 74-149.
Winds that gusted up to 25 miles per hour Friday dissipated in the morning, but strengthened again in the afternoon. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep several players from making a move.
Chief among them was Thompson, on pace for the low round of the tournament. With Lewis also pressing to get into contention, the two found themselves riding momentum together.
“Yeah, we were talking about that we probably had the best golf going on today, we had so many birdies,” Thompson said. “The first two days we were ball‑striking it well, just didn’t make that many putts, but today we were definitely feeding off each other off of birdies.”
Despite there being more than two-dozen players bunched together, Lewis didn’t find the task daunting of trying to emerge from the pack. “In one aspect it’s almost easier,” she said, “because you can’t worry about one person. You can’t pay attention to one person because then somebody else is going to jump up and pass you.”
Final-round coverage of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic on Golf Channel is 3-5 p.m. EST.
For more tournament information, contact the Tournament Office at 242.677.6470 or visit www.puresilkbahamasclassic.com .