FORT MYERS, FLORIDA, May 3, 2014 – With nightfall looming, Min Seo Kwak nailed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to snag sole possession of the lead at 5-under-par as second-round play was suspended due to darkness on Saturday at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. Kwak fired a 4-under-par 68 to hold a one stroke lead over Jean Reynolds with 18 holes to play.
Kwak, who played on the LPGA Tour in 2013, has never won on the Epson Tour. She has five top-10 finishes in her career.
“If I win, I get closer to the LPGA Tour, which is my goal,” said Kwak. “I want to get full exempt status so I can focus on one Tour in 2015.”
The South Korea native made six birdies on the day and had two bogeys.
On the 18th hole, Kwak lined up a birdie putt from the fringe. She hit a firm right-to-left uphill putt that went right into the hole to assume the lead.
“For tomorrow, I need to make more birdies and avoid bogeys.”
Second-round play will resume on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. After the completion of the second round, there will be a cut made and then the final round will begin.
Weather threw a wrench into the entire day on Saturday. The horns first sounded at 9:35 a.m. due to lightning in the area. Players returned to the course after a short delay at 10:22 a.m. Later in the day, players were forced off the course again at 12:44 p.m. The players returned at 2:37 p.m. for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Second round play was cut short due to darkness at 8:01 p.m.
JEAN REYNOLDS IN HUNT FOR FIRST WIN SINCE ’09: On a day in which morning rain and lightning halted play twice, Jean Reynolds navigated the stops and starts and shot a 4-under 68 to sit in solo second place.
Reynolds will aim for her third career Epson Tour victory on Sunday, but her first since she won twice in 2009.
Reynolds won the Florida’s Natural Growers Charity Classic and the Horseshoe Casino Classic at Lost Marsh Golf Course.
The 29-year-old from Newnan, Georgia rattled off four consecutive birdies between the sixth and ninth holes. Her back nine featured more ebbs and flows with three birdies and three bogeys over her final six holes.
“It was a good day, I was fortunate to get out in the morning with some really good, calm conditions,” said Reynolds. “There were a couple delays here and there, but for the most part it was a good day to get out here and play.”
Reynolds was happy with her overall tee to green performance.
“I drove the ball good, tee to green was good and I was able to make some putts. Obviously that is what you have to do out here to make a move and I was fortunate enough to make some putts.”
Reynolds has dealt with a myriad of injuries since earning her LPGA Tour card after a stellar 2009 season on the Epson Tour. She was hampered by a lower back injury in 2010 and then a shoulder injury in 2012.
Reynolds finished second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2009.
“It’s been pretty up and down, it’s been a couple years since surgery, but it takes quite a while to come back not only physically, but it takes a mental toll on you too. I’m happy to be out here playing, but obviously I want to move my way back up (to the LPGA Tour).”
“It was a long day, I’m pleased with my round and I’m happy with my position,” said Na. “I’ll just try to focus on what I’ve been doing, hitting fairways, hitting a few more greens would be nice and I should be up there if that all happens.”
Although it was a long day at the course, Na made the most of the delays.
“It (delay) was actually good timing, we played a hole then went back in and had a bagel and then went right back out,” said Na. “Then, the second delay, we had a bit over an hour and it worked out perfect because it was lunch time. So I made myself a little sandwich, sat around and chatted with the girls and caught up with some gossip on social media.”
Na also had time to catch up with some of her friends back in Australia with the time difference.
Na has played on the Ladies European Tour and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. She has played on the Epson Tour since 2010, but only played one full season in the states.
“The similarities are that any tour you go play on is really competitive and there are great golfers on all tours,” said the 24-year-old. “I enjoy coming out to the states and playing on the Epson Tour because the travelling is a little easier and everything is there for your convenience, everyone speaks English and the shopping is really cheap.”
Although she admitted there is no place like Adelaide, Australia, she loves America.
“I love coming to America, everyone is so friendly here.”
ASSISTANT PRO AT CYPRESS LAKE PLAYED ON FUTURES TOUR: One of the Assistant Professionals at Cypress Lake Country Club, Robin Albright, played in six total events on the Futures Tour back in the 1980’s.
“It’s hard for me to grasp from when I played on this Tour to what it is now,” said Albright. “When I played it was like another tournament, but now it is like a seamless walkway. There is really no difference from what they are doing here (Epson Tour) than if they actually do make it to the LPGA Tour.”
Albright also knew Patty Berg very well.
“This event would have thrilled Patty because it is still youth and it’s all of the things that she tried to lay out and make possible.”
MOVE OF THE DAY: The best move up the leaderboard on Saturday at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial belonged to Madeleine Sheils, who vaulted from T50 at the start of the day to a tie for seventh.
Sheils made six birdies on the day including a string of three consecutive to open her round.
The Boise, Idaho native will aim for her first top-10 finish of the year on Sunday.
SELANEE SHINING: Selanee Henderson shot a 2-under-par 70 on Saturday and is 2-under for the event. She currently stands in sixth place.
Henderson got off to a slow start in 2014. Through the first four events, her best finish was a tie for 76th.
Last week, she finished in a tie for seventh at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay.
She will aim for back-to-back top-10 finishes on Sunday.