After 18 holes, Yan Liu holds a three-shot lead over the rest of the field. She lit up her front nine, carding five consecutive birdies and followed with a sixth to open her back nine. Liu carded nine birdies on the day to shoot 8-under-par 63.
“My putter today was very good,” said Liu. “And my irons gave me a lot of birdie chances.”
Liu’s 8-under round was one stroke away from tying Jessi Gebhardt’s 2013 record of 9-under-par. After an exhausting last week of weather delays and squeezing in 72-holes at French Lick Resort, Liu decided she was tired and needed a caddie. She credits him for helping her mentally throughout the round.
“I think after this tournament, I’ll always have a caddie,” said Liu. “It helps me relax a little bit.”
Her Friday low round was inspired by friend and two-time Epson Tour champion, Xiaowen Yin. Like Yin, Liu has her eyes set on winning and earning a spot near the top of the Official Money List.
“I want to be in the top-10,” said Liu. “I think everybody wants to be top-10.”
Three strokes behind Liu, tied for second at 5-under, were Vivian Hou and Linnea Strom. Hou went bogey-free, carding five birdies on the day. She said she hit a lot of fairways and greens, which helped her birdie chances.
“I just stuck to my game plan and stayed patient,” said Hou. “I kept it simple.”
Strom, who spent a majority of the week in French Lick, Indiana in contention, once again took her place near the top of the leaderboard. The Swede carded seven birdies on the day and said that this week has already felt easier than last.
“I do feel like it is a little bit more relaxed than last week, where I had to concentrate 100% the whole time,” said Strom. “I had a couple of good days to rest up and recharge for this tournament.”
Tied for fourth at 4-under were Malene Krolboll Hansen, Roberta Liti and Selena Costabile. A total of 48 players shot even-par or better.