LPGA: Amanda Doherty holds midway lead at ISPS Handa World Invitational
LPGA Tour rookie Amanda Doherty fired her second consecutive 67 on Friday to hold a one-shot lead at the midway point of the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Doherty is at 11-under 134, just ahead of Lauren Coughlin and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen. Coughlin and Pedersen both shot 68s at Massereene Golf Club.
England’s Cara Gainer is alone in fourth at 9 under after she shot 67 on Friday.
The event is tri-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and DP World Tour. A field of 132 men are also playing on the same courses, as the men and women are competing for identical purses of $1.5 million.
Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson leads the men with a 9-under 131. He shot even-par 70 on Massereene after setting a course record with a 61 on Thursday at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
Spain’s Borja Virto shot 67 and is one shot behind Ferguson.
As for Doherty, she carded five birdies on the front nine Friday and overall has six birdies with one bogey.
“Putts were going in today,” Doherty said after the round. “I was hitting the ball well to get it close enough for them to go in, but they were just falling in and that was definitely the best part of my game on the front nine.”
Doherty, 24, had missed the cut five times in 12 previous starts. Yet she brought confidence into this event after shooting a 4-under 67 in the final round of a major — The Evian Championship — in her last time out.
“I had been feeling like my game was trending in the right direction, making a few tweaks here and there,” Doherty said. “From the outside looking in you might not see that score-wise, but I’ve been feeling like it’s going the right direction. So it’s nice to really kind of confirm that.
Doherty’s top finish is a tie for 14th at the LA Open in April.
“This is not a position I’ve really been in before on the LPGA, so it’s always fun,” she said. “It’s nice to know that I have some good, low rounds in me for sure.”
Coughlin scored two eagles on par-5 holes — No. 1 and No. 10 — and had three birdies and two bogeys.
Pedersen birdied the first four holes and had seven overall. She also had two bogeys. Gainer also recorded seven birdies and two bogeys.
Chinese Taipei’s Peiyun Chien (67), England’s Georgia Hall (69) and Ireland’s Leona Maguire (69) are tied for fifth at 8-under 137.
–Field Level Media