Tour News

Brilliant Kirk extends Wisconsin lead

(Photo: Henry Peters)
Queensland’s Katherine Kirk recovered from a slow start to extend her overnight lead at the LPGA Tour’s Thornberry Classic in Wisconsin.

Kirk recorded a personal best 9-under 63 in round two to open up a three shot cushion through 36 holes but fell back to the pack through five holes when she dropped to 1-over for the day.

But the slow start only served to ignite the two time LPGA Tour winner who reeled off eight birdies between the fifth hole and the clubhouse to reach 20-under-par and take a four stroke advantage to the final round.

A monster par putt at the 18th hole was a bonus after she found a fairway bunker off the tee and missed the green, the effort ensuring she will begin the final round with a handy cushion.

Kirk’s last LPGA win came in 2010 and the likeable Queenslander has been playing better golf in 2017 after some poor form in recent years.

An opening 8-under 65 at the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide in February suggested things were turning though Kirk has been treading water somewhat since.

However, after a blemish free opening round 68 at the Thornberry Creek Course the 35-year-old has been on fire with 21 birdies and an eagle.

Kirk leads from South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai (nee Simon) who signed for a 7-under 65 after making a slow start herself.

Buhai dropped a shot at her first hole but quickly grabbed it back at the second before adding three more to the turn.

Another four gains on the inward journey mean she is not only Kirk’s nearest pursuer but holds a handy advantage over Jodi Ewart-Shadoff and Ayako Uehara who are at 13-under and sharing third.

Minjee Lee is next best of the Australians at 8-under and sharing 23rd while Karrie Webb stumbled to a 76 Saturday to fall to the tail of the field.


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