For the fourth consecutive round, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard maintained the LPGA Q-Series top spot, shooting a 4-under 68 on Friday to take a two-shot lead over her competitors. As she inches closer to earning medalist honors just as she did in Stage II, Roussin-Bouchard remains the only player to have shot all rounds of Q-Series in the 60s this week. Play was delayed two hours due to heavy fog with the sixth round beginning at 9:30 a.m., but nothing seemed to deter the 21-year-old in Dothan, Ala.
“I'm literally right now trying to be in the moment right here, right now,” said Roussin-Bouchard. “There are still two more rounds and I will try my best. I will keep being me on the course and I will think about what's coming next later.”
The Frenchwoman started with a double bogey on her first hole but rebounded quickly with back-to-back birdies to be level heading in her fourth hole, No. 13. Despite adding two more bogeys to the scorecard, Roussin-Bouchard made six more birdies, including one on her closing hole.
“I was just like it happens and there is still a lot of golf left, so I didn't really get mad or anything,” said Roussin-Bouchard of No. 10. “I just kept to the process. And I was a little bit mad but not in a bad way, so it allowed me to have birdie-birdie after that double bogey. Just same process, same mindset as happy me, crazy me.”
Na Rin An is battling Roussin-Bouchard for medalist honors with 36 holes remaining as she followed up her fifth-round 64 with a 69 on Friday and sits in solo second at -25. An was among the five groups who had to finish out the fifth day Friday morning, and said it felt like “a lot of golfing today,” but was happy to end on a high note.
“I think it would be good to be a medalist, but it's not specifically a goal that I came with. I do want to play well and I think I am getting towards playing well as well,” said the KLPGA winner.
Four-time Ladies European Tour champion Atthaya Thitikul posted a 3-under 69 to find herself in solo third at -22, with Hye-Jin Choi three back of the Thai native at -19 after an even-par day. Japan’s Ayaka Furue is -16 after a Friday 69, with Epson Tour winner Peiyun Chien in sixth at -15. Chien, who recorded a 72 after two birdies and two bogeys on the day, said she made it her goal to finish within the top five on the Q-Series leaderboard by week’s end.
“I was very nervous because I feel I need to play very well and give to me a little bit pressure to make top 5. That's my goal. But I think too much and try too hard to make everything,” said Chien. “[Last week] I just want to make cut first and make more birdie, don't make too many mistakes. That's my goal. And I did very well last week, so this is just little goal I want to be like top 5 for this week.”
Major champion Hinako Shibuno sits in a tie for seventh at -14 with Linnea Johansson and Dewi Weber, while amateur Yu-Chiang Hou and Janie Jackson are tied for 10th at -13. Currently, 46 players are within the top 45 and ties at -3 in their effort to gain 2022 LPGA Tour status.