DALY CITY – Haru Nomura was on the right side of the draw Friday.
Avoiding the rainy conditions that plagued much of the morning wave, Nomura carded a 2-under par, 70 on Friday afternoon to take a 3-stroke lead at 9-under par.
Nomura did have to contend with the wind in the afternoon, forcing herself to stay patient as she made 11 consecutive pars before making her first birdies of the day.
“Today very windy, so I thought today's best score even par, I think. So I keep my patience, so I'm so relaxed, and a couple putts in, and that's it,” Nomura said after her round.
She bounced back from a bogey at the par 4, 16th with a birdie at the 17th hole to extend her lead to three. Nomura captured her first win on Tour earlier this season at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, which she followed-up with a top-5 performance in Thailand. Her best finish in this event is a T-21 in 2014.
Nomura leads first round leader So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Minjee Lee, who posted the low round of the day during the morning’s nasty weather conditions, carding a bogey-free 7-under par, 65.
“No, it was still windy,” said Lee. “It was like on and off rain, and I was like putting my rain jacket on and off and on and off. I think it's going to be pretty similar all day. Like when we were finishing, it was quite nice, so hopefully it's good for the afternoon, as well.”
Lee won last week’s LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey for her second career win on the LPGA Tour.
Tied with Lee is Na Yeon Choi, who is back in contention after battling a back injury in 2015 that forced her to miss 10 weeks of the season. The injury flared up at the RICOH Women’s British Open and tends to give her grief in in colder conditions.
“Yeah, like honestly, I was a little worried about today before my tee off because of the weather, but luckily the afternoon group has better luck than other waves, I think,” Choi said after her round. “A lot of bogeys out there, but I tried to hang in there until the last hole. I didn't give up. That's when I got four birdies on the back nine, and I feel good. I feel great about my game, and hopefully my back stays strong until Sunday because always like cold weather, it like bothers me. I need to keep warming up for my back before I tee off, and then hopefully I have a good result this week.”
First round leader So Yeon Ryu struggled to start her day, teeing off in the last of the rough weather and made four bogeys in her first five holes. She added two more bogeys and three birdies to follow her opening round 63 with a 3-over par, 75 on day two.
“Well, the thing was, first hole I hit a really bad tee shot. Then second hole I thought it was a really good tee shot, but it just clipped a little branch, then dropped down. It was just bad luck. Third hole was my ball pitched literally half inch left of the cup, then hit the pin, then it's just coming back, so it finished like literally 50 yards from the pin, so it was bad luck,” Ryu said after her round.
Gerina Piller, Brittany Lang, Karine Icher and two-time defending champion Lydia Ko are T-5 at 5-under par. Ko moved to the top of the leaderboard with three birdies on her first four holes, but struggled coming in, dropping shots at both the 15th and 17th holes to fall 4-strokes back of Nomura.
With the cut line falling at 4-over par, several notables won’t be around for the weekend, including Megan Khang (+5), Paula Creamer (+6), Sei Young Kim (+6) and Alison Lee (+8).