GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Hall of Famer Juli Inkster shot a 3-under 69 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Anna Nordqvist at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The 51-year-old Inkster is trying to become the oldest winner in LPGA history. Beth Daniel was 46 when she won the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open.
Inkster, battling a sore right elbow, said it hasn’t crossed her mind about becoming the oldest winner.
“No, it really doesn’t,” Inkster said. “I just have to win. If I’m the oldest, that’s whatever. I know I’m the oldest, and everybody reminds me I’m the oldest, so I’m just the oldest.
“Every year I say, `OK, I’ll do it for one more year.’ That’s been going on for 10 years, and I don’t know what else I would do. I get to play 20 weeks a year and get the rest of them off and travel around and get to see parts of the world and talk to you people. It’s a great job.”
Inkster won the last of her 31 LPGA titles in 2006.
“I really feel the fans watching out here, they’re rooting hard for me, and I’m trying the best I can,” Inkster said. “If it happens, it’s awesome. I’m sure the players are rooting for me just so I will go home and retire and I don’t have to be out here anymore. I don’t know, it’s a good feeling.”
Nordqvist had a 65 - the best score in the first two rounds in the 36-player event - to match Inkster at 8-under 136 at Guadalajara Country Club.
“I always said I wanted to be like Juli Inkster one day,” Nordqvist said. “She is a mom, she is 51, and she is out here and still competing. It’s a great opportunity anytime you get to play with her. I watched her a lot growing up and just to walk alongside her on the fairways and try to learn and catch a little bit of her brain is just such a good opportunity for me to get better.”
Catriona Matthew (68), Meena Lee (69) and Suzann Pettersen (70) were a stroke back, and defending champion I.K. Kim (67) was 5 under. Michelle Wie, the 2009 winner, was five strokes behind at 3 under after a 71. Se Ri Pak (71) and Paula Creamer (71) also were 3 under.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng was 18th at 1 over after a 69.
Tseng is coming off victories in the LPGA’s Taiwan Championship and Ladies European Tour’s Suzhou Taihu Ladies in China. The Taiwanese star has seven LPGA wins this season, including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open, and four other worldwide wins. She tied for 18th in 2008 in the inaugural event in Guadalajara, tied for eighth in 2009 and was 27th last year.