PHOENIX – Karine Icher looked as if she were going to run up a big lead Friday at the JTBC Founders Cup until she nearly got lost in the desert.
Bogey free through 33 holes, Icher had a three-shot lead when she wandered into some scrub brush and cactus after knocking her approach shot over the 16th green, where it came to rest under a tree. She took a penalty for an unplayable lie but dropped in another difficult spot in the desert brush, where she couldn’t hack her fourth shot out of the trouble. She finally punched her fifth up beside the green, putted up to 4 feet and made the next putt for a triple bogey.
Her three-shot lead was gone and she wouldn’t get it back.
With a bogey at the 18th, Icher shot 70, leaving her at 8 under overall, two shots behind Hyo Joo Kim, the leader in the clubhouse in the suspended second round.
Afterward, Icher was asked why she dropped in the brush instead of going back to the fairway bunker, where she hit her second shot over the green.
“I had no other choice,” Icher said. “If I declare it unplayable, and go back in the bunker to drop my ball in the bunker, it will plug. So, I mean, it would be probably the same number at the end.”