Finland's Castren takes lead at suspended Texas LPGA event

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Finland's Matilda Castren fired her second straight five-under 66 to grab the clubhouse lead in the suspended second round of the LPGA Volunteers of America Classic tournament in The Colony, Texas.

Castren sits at 10-under overall for a two-shot lead over a pair of South Koreans, Lee6 Jeong-eun and former world number one Ko Jin-young at the Old American Golf Course.

Lee6 carded a second-round 70 while first-round leader Ko remained at eight-under for the tournament through just four holes of her second round.

"My irons have been really good," Castren said. "I hit some good shots, especially with my seven, nine, and pitching wedge, so that really helped. I made some good putts from six to 15 feet."

The 26-year-old Castren delivered a bogey-free round despite having to endure a six hour morning weather delay caused by rain and lightning.

She spent the time chatting with the other golfers and checking the weather reports.

"I spent the whole day here at the golf course," Castren said. "It was great because there was food all day, friends, and I hung out with the other players and caddies.

"We had a lot of stuff to talk about. We were checking the radar every five minutes waiting for the updates. Actually, it went kind of quickly. It was mainly the food that kept me here."

Ko will resume her round two along with the others Saturday morning. Ko topped the world rankings for 92 weeks before American Nelly Korda ascended to the top on Monday after capturing her first major title at the Women's PGA Championship.

France's Celine Boutier was three shots off Castren's lead after firing a 67 on Friday. Celine Herbin, Esther Henseleit and Chun In-gee were all in the clubhouse at six under.

Castren got off to a fast start with a birdie on the par-four 10th, her first hole of the round. She parred the next four holes before adding another birdie on No. 15.

She also had back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes of the back nine. She rolled in her fifth and final birdie of the day on the par-three seventh.

Castren is enjoying the best season of her career. Three weeks ago she became the first Finnish winner on the Tour by capturing the Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced.