Ana Paula Valdes, Samantha Wagner and Kenzie Wright sit atop the leaderboard as Friday play concludes. The trio signed for 6-under 66 and hold the overnight lead by one stroke.
Play was stopped twice during the afternoon wave of the first round. Golfers headed back out to the course at 6:14 pm after a two-hour and 38-minute weather delay before play was called for the day at 9:55 p.m. ET. The first round will resume at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the second round beginning on time at 7:30 a.m. ET.
Valdes, Wagner and Wright finished their first round along with the rest of the morning wave before the storms rolled in. Valdes went lights-out in the middle of her round, carding six consecutive birdies from No. 7 to No. 12.
“Making six birdies in a row felt great,” said Valdes. “It gave me great momentum for the rest of the round. It’s always a confidence boost seeing shots end up close to the pin and having putts drop.”
The Clemson graduate says her game plan for tomorrow remains the same. She wants to stay patient, keep a good attitude and enjoy herself.
Wagner recorded a bogey-free round and six birdies, what she calls a solid day from tee to green. She worked well with her caddy, who also happens to be her dad, staying calm and attacking shots when comfortable.
“I am always excited about a bogey-free round and to see a clean card,” said Wagner. “I just want to continue having fun on the course with my dad, sticking to our game plan and building on what we did today."
The Floridian has recorded some low rounds throughout the season and put her name in the mix, but says it feels great to see her name up top at the start of the weekend.
“I have been working hard and feeling like my game has been in a great place lately, so it feels awesome to see a positive result today,” said Wagner. “I’m excited to get back out there tomorrow!&rdquo
Wright also went bogey-free, carding six birdies. Four of the six were consecutive on the course’s back nine.
“Putting was really good,” said Wright. “There was a four hole stretch where I saw it and was like ‘okay this is going in, there’s no question.’ I love days like that. It was one of those days that you just want to take advantage of - feeling good with everything and just trying to go as low as you can.”
Wright went off in the first group of the day and needed a moment after seeing the leaderboard when approaching her final hole.
“We were making the turn to nine, my last hole, and seeing the leaderboard with my name on it, I was like ‘okay I just have to take this in for a second,’” said Wright. “It’s pretty cool, so I was just trying to enjoy the moment and enjoy every shot.”
One shot behind, tied for fourth place, are nine players. Jiwon Jeon, Karis Davidson, Britney Yada, Emilee Hoffman, Moeka Nishihata, Pinyada Kuvanun, Sarah White, Selena Costabile, and Katherine Smith signed for -5. Davidson is the only player in the group of eight who has not completed all 18 holes.
A total of 82 players ended Friday at 1-under par or better.