World No. 1 Jin Young Ko and Nasa Hataoka Co-Lead after Suspended Second Round
LOS ANGELES - Due to a half of inch of rain locally and up to 1.5 inches elsewhere Thursday night, there was significant debris throughout the course at Wilshire Country Club on Friday morning due to runoff from the surrounding area, which caused damage to bridges, several bunkers and the barranca. Starting times for the second round of the DIO Implant LA Open were ultimately delayed one hour and 15 minutes.
With six groups left on the course by Friday’s end, play was suspended due to darkness at 7:36 p.m. local time. Second-round competition will continue Saturday at 7:15 a.m. with the cut being made upon completion. Despite the delay, it was an afternoon to remember for Jin Young Ko and Nasa Hataoka, who are both currently tied for the 36-hole lead heading into the weekend in Los Angeles. After starting the day T30, Ko tied the 18-hole scoring record with her 7-under 64, one off her personal best, and her lowest round since a 63 on the final day of the 2021 CME Group Tour Championship.
“My putting was so good today. I wasn't expecting to play really well today because in the afternoon it's always hard to play this course,” said Ko, who hit every fairway and 16 greens in regulation on Friday. ”But my putting was good, so I'm happy with it.”
Ko’s impressive day was highlighted by a bogey-free back nine, which included four consecutive birdies from holes 11 to 14. Ko has ahold of her eighth-career 36-hole lead/co-lead and the last time she was in this position after the second day of play, the World No. 1 went on to win at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She has never finished worse than solo fourth when on top of the leaderboard after 36 holes. “I played well today, but I don't want to think about much at all today, how did I play,” said Ko. “I have two more rounds, and nobody knows how it goes. So working hard and focus on it and go get it.”
Hataoka carded seven birdies and four bogeys to post a 3-under 68, closing with three straight on Nos. 7-9. “Yes, 7, the par 3, that was a short one so I was able to hit the pin. It was like a tap-in. 8 and 9, it wasn't a very long -- it was a pretty long putt, but I was able to read the line really good. Greens weren't easy, but I feel like I was able to hit it good,” said Hataoka, whose best finish at the LA Open is a tie for 19th back in 2018.
In the morning wave, Hannah Green recorded a bogey-free 67 to currently sit in solo third at -5, thanks to four birdies on Nos. 2, 12, 15 and 16. “I'm very pleased. I guess today's round kind of felt like even more under par than what it was. I was pretty solid with my putting all day today which was nice because yesterday I had a couple three-putts,” said Green, who last won on the LPGA Tour in 2019 at the Cambia Portland Classic. “But it was nice to get done in the morning and not have to worry about coming back early tomorrow to finish a round.”
Minjee Lee and Haeji Kang sit in a tie for fourth at -4 overall, with four players in a tie for sixth at -3 and four back of the leaders, including University of Southern California alum and hometown favorite Lizette Salas. “This course has been a part of my career for a long time, and being an LA native, it means a lot to climb up the leaderboard, and to see so many fans cheer me on, say "fight on" and knowing that more people are going to come this weekend to cheer me on, it feels good,” said Salas. “Obviously I want to perform well for them. I know this course pretty well, and it's just a matter of staying patient and committing to my shots.”
Eight players, including UCLA alum and 18-hole leader Alison Lee, are tied for 10th at -2. Defending champion Brooke Henderson finished Friday in a tie for 95th after a 1-over 72. Third-round play is expected to begin at approximately 9 a.m. on Saturday.