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Gulbis Leads Outright Through 36 Holes

2006 Corning ClassicTOLEDO, Ohio -- Natalie Gulbis, seeking her first career LPGA win, battled floodwaters and a stellar field on Saturday to take the 36-hole lead at the storm-plagued Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
Gulbis was on the 10th tee when second-round play was suspended Friday after monsoon-like weather dumped 1.5 inches of rain in three hours onto Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Mi Hyun Kim
Mi Hyun Kim is vying for her second win of the season (Ginn Open).
Along with 70 other players in the 143-player field, she returned to the sodden course Saturday morning to complete the round, playing the back nine at 1 under for a 5-under 66 that left her at 9-under 133.
'It was really clean -- I hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens and had a lot of birdie chances,' said Gulbis, playing in her 126th LPGA tournament. 'It seemed like one of those easier rounds where every hole I had a shot to make birdie.'
After a brief respite for the cut and pairings to be finalized, Gulbis was set to start the third round. She had a simple plan.
'Make a lot of birdies,' she said.
Paula Creamer, who finished off a second consecutive 67, was a shot back in second with Reilley Rankin and Mi Hyun Kim.
'I'm feeling really good going into the last two rounds,' said Creamer, seeking her first win of the season after winning rookie of the year honors last season with two victories.
First-round leader Liselotte Neumann followed her opening 65 with a 70 and was at 135 along with Sung Ah Yim.
Se Ri Pak, trying to match Mickey Wright's LPGA record of five victories in one event, led the group at 136. Annika Sorenstam, the 2000 winner, shot a 67 and was at 137.
A couple of holes at Highland Meadows Golf Club now feature island greens because of the overflowing Ten Mile Creek which meanders through the layout.
Players on the first three holes had to be driven in carts through foot-deep rapids. The water flowed over the wheels of the carts, with the players putting their feet up on the hood in order to avoid the water flooding the floor.
'You hope you make it through,' Sorenstam said of fording the deep water. 'It's kind of like you're at Disney World on one of the flume rides. I'm amazed that we're playing.'
Tournament director Judd Silverman said there were as many as 80 people working on the course through the night, pushing standing water toward drains and the overflowing creek.
Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, playing in her first LPGA event in over a year, received a lengthy standing ovation after chipping in for birdie on the 18th hole to close out a 77. After shooting an 81 in the first round, she missed the cut of 2-over 144.
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