PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Inbee Park’s quest to return to No. 1 was bolstered Saturday morning as she grabbed a share of the lead at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.
Park came out in the morning to finish up 13 holes of the suspended second round and closed out a 3-under-par 70 at the Ocean Club.
At 8-under 138, Park is tied with Brooke Pancake (71) and rookie Sei Young Kim (68) atop the leaderboard. They’re one shot ahead of Sandra Gal (69), Gerina Piller (70), Sun Young Yoo (69) and Ariya Jutanugarn (70).
Dori Carter (72), Jenny Shin (71) and rookie Kelly Shon (71) are two shots back.
Park, who lost her No. 1 ranking to Lydia Ko this week, has a chance to take it back with a finish of fourth-place or better this weekend, depending on what Ko does. Ko (71) is tied for 27th, five shots off the lead.
“It does give me just a little bit more motivation,” Park said of her slip to No. 2 in the world.
Park had sole possession of the second-round lead until a rare hiccup on the greens Saturday morning. One of the best putters in the history of the women’s game, Park missed a 3-footer at the last hole but left pleased with her position.
“That was my only mistake today,” Park said. “I hit the ball really well. I felt like I gave myself opportunities every hole.”
The heavy winds that roared across the Ocean Club eased Saturday morning, but not completely. The winds were still up at 20 mph when the first tee balls were in the air.
“That winds is definitely still a factor,” Pancake said. “I’m managing the wind pretty well, for the most part.”
The rookie Kim is in the hunt in just her first start as a tour member. She won five times on the Korean LPGA the last two years and won her LPGA membership tying for ninth at Q-School in December. She’s a big hitter who led the KLPGA in driving distance the last two seasons.
Michelle Wie, who struggled through Saturday morning with flu symptoms, was among the big names missing the cut, which was set at 1-over 147. Na Yeon Choi, winner of last week’s LPGA season opening Coates Golf Championship, also missed the cut along with major champions Cristie Kerr, Mo Martin and Eun-Hee Ji.