Golfers finish 2nd round at weather-delayed US Women’s Open

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Mamiko Higa of Japan retained a one-shot lead at the weather-delayed U.S. Women’s Open as golfers finished the second round early Saturday.

There were 45 players still on the course when play was suspended due to darkness after a nearly two-hour rain delay and lightning strike near the 18th hole that cleared the Country Club of Charleston late in the round.

Higa finished her round of 71 before play was suspended. She’s 6 under, one ahead of American Jessica Korda and Celine Boutier of France. American amateur Gina Kim is two behind.

Korda shot a 68 while Boutier, who finished up her four holes on play Saturday, had a 70.

Past champions Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr were among those not making the cut at 3-over par.

Lexi Thompson, who returned to play her two final holes, is among five players sitting three shots behind Higa. Thompson had a 69 and was tied with American Jaye Marie Green, South Korea’s Sei Young Kim, So Yeon Ryu and Jeongeun Lee6 (she goes by her unique name after the LPGA Tour of Korea dubbed her 6 because five others have the same name).

Korda’s younger sister Nelly Korda, second-ranked Minjee Lee of Australia and two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Inbee Park were among eight players tied at 2 under.

Thompson had just her third sub-70 showing in 44 career rounds at this tournament. She’s pleased with her position.

“I’m going to stick with my game plan and what I’ve been working on with my swing and just how I’ve been challenging this golf course with driver and playing it aggressively,” Thompson said.

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko was six shots behind at even par after her 70.

Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot 73 to make the cut on the number. She is nine shots behind Higa.

Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi made the cut in their first tournaments as professionals.

Kupcho, the Wake Forest student who won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, was at 1 over after finishing her round of 72 Saturday.

Mexico’s Fassi won the NCAA women’s individual championship last month with Arkansas. She was 3 over after completing her 73.

The course was far from quiet overnight. Workers removed a large tree between the 18th fairway and 11th green that was struck by lightning during Friday’s weather delay. Crews were cutting and grinding late Friday. By the start of play Saturday, only a pile of wood chips remained.

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