Miyazato, Kerr finish hot as storms roll in at Open

Ai Miyazato tees off during Sybase Match Play.

Ai Miyazato tees off during Sybase Match Play.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Just when things were starting to get interesting, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr had to bag their clubs and wait for their marching orders.

As second-round play drew to a close Saturday, another storm popped up over the Rockies, dropping lightning on The Broadmoor’s East Course and causing the third weather delay of the week. As tournament officials put together third-round pairings to keep the 66th U.S. Women’s Open rolling on as tight a schedule as possible, whispers of a Monday finish grew louder.

Kerr has been in a similar position already this week, having climbed into a share of the lead early in Round 1 with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 before play was suspended for the rest of the afternoon. She returned to a bunker shot at No. 7 the next morning. This time, she’ll return to a fresh round.

Kerr, whose sole U.S. Women’s Open title came in 2007, birdied Nos. 15 and 16 on the way into the clubhouse, then lipped out a 6-footer for birdie after stuffing it at the 18th. She finished at 1-over 72, and is at 1 over for the tournament. She holds a share of 12th, with Karrie Webb.

“I need to make up some ground, for sure,” Kerr said. “You know, it would have been better to be under par at this point, but there’s two more days left.”

Miyazato climbed to the No. 2 spot on the leaderboard Saturday, trailing Mika Miyazato (no relation) by a single shot. Miyazato picked up on Kerr’s momentum late in the round, rolling in a 10-footer for birdie at No. 17 and watching a 12-footer trickle in the hole at 18.

“I missed a few fairways today, but I got really good up-and-downs almost five times today,” she said. “That’s why I think the few birdies coming in to close because I have really good patience in the round. It’s really, really tough to play. I’m kind of tired already.”

Miyazato and Kerr both held the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking during 2010, and Webb is a two-time Player of the Year winner (1999, 2000). They drew major fanfare Saturday morning.

“It was really nice to play with them. Cristie played really well and Karrie played also really well so it was a nice atmosphere,” Miyazato said.

Among the notables who will not return to the course for the start of Round 3 on Saturday afternoon:

• Juli Inkster, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion who also won the 1982 U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Broadmoor’s Mountain Course, was at 8 over, one shot outside the cutline. Amanda Blumenherst, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, and Anna Nordqvist, winner of the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship and McDonald’s LPGA Championship, also were at 8 over.

• Two-time Solheim Cupper Christina Kim was at 10 over.

• Alexis Thompson, 16, finished at 11 over. Thompson finished T-10 at last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

• Ariya Jutanugarn, the 15-year-old who earned low-amateur honors at the Kraft Nabiso Championship in April, was at 12 over. Older sister Moriya, playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open, made the cut and was T-21 after Round 2.

• Mariel Galdiano, 13, shot a pair of 85s to finish at the bottom of the leaderboard.

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