Caroline Masson leads at North Texas

April 26, 2013

Caroline Masson was relieved to be finished with her second round at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout. She was fortunate to still have the lead.

Masson bogeyed three of her last four holes Friday to wrap up an even-par round of 71, good enough for a one-stroke lead over Carlota Ciganda.

''After the last few holes, I'm pretty happy it's over now,'' said Masson, who opened with a bogey-free 7-under 64. ''I don't know what went wrong really. It was just a few bad shots, but I think that it's good that it's over and then I can, yeah, just relax now and tomorrow I think I'll be fine again.''

At 7-under 135, Masson was a stroke ahead of Ciganda (70), and two ahead of top-ranked Inbee Park (70), 18-year-old LPGA Tour rookie Moriya Jutanugarn (66) and Kathleen Ekey (67).

When Masson got to the 15th hole Friday, she was 10 under and had a four-stroke lead. Her advantage dwindled to one in a hurry.

Masson's drive at the 390-yard 15th went left, but the ball then rolled right across the sloping fairway into the water.

''It just carried down the downslope,'' she said. ''It was not a horrible shot. But that just happens.''

After missing the fairway again with her tee shot at the 405-yard 16th for another bogey, Masson managed to save par at the 178-yard 17th after coming up short of the green on her tee shot.

Then at the par-5 18th, Masson drove her tee shot behind a tree before a punch shot that rolled through the fairway and settled near another tree with no clear angle to the flag. After an approach shot short of the green, she stepped back before hitting her fourth shot, then dropped the club and looked down after she hit - way right of the pin, setting up a long two-putt for a closing bogey.

''It's a bit disappointing, but still, I played really solid, you know,'' said Masson, the 23-year-old German who made only her second cut in six LPGA tournaments this season.

After nearly ideal conditions for the opening round at Las Colinas Country Club, it was mostly cloudy with steady wind in the second round. There was even some light rain for those playing before noon, including Jutanugarn, the teenager from Thailand whose bogey-free 66 was the best round Friday, a day after she had three consecutive bogeys late in her round.

There were 80 players who made the cut, which was 3 over. That included Haley Mills (73-71) and Taylor Coleman (68-77), the two high school players who got in the field through a Monday qualifier. Two college qualifiers didn't make it to the weekend rounds. Coleman was tied for third after the opening round.

There will be a second cut Saturday to the top 50 and ties.

Stacy Lewis, the Texas native who has a chance to regain the No. 1 world ranking by finishing in the top five, has some work to do this weekend. She was tied for 36th at even par after a 70.

Ciganda, the 22-year-old Spaniard who plans to play in Europe next month after six LPGA events, overcame consecutive bogeys midway through her second round.

Those bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes were her only hiccups, though her 32 putts were six more than her opening round and about the only thing different. She only hit four of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens for the second day in a row.

''They were hitting a little closer to the pin, so I made a few shorter ones,'' Ciganda said. ''I would be happier with a few more putts if they would drop in. But I mean I'm happy with my round. ... Just those putts that didn't go in, that's the difference.''

There were two lengthy birdie putts she did make though, sinking shots from 15-16 feet on the 165-yard fourth hole, and the 405-yard 16th.

Park missed makeable putts on her last two holes. A 5-foot par putt lipped out at No. 8, then she missed a birdie chance from about the same length on her final hole.

''A couple of those putts that I just read it wrong, and especially the last two holes,'' Park said. ''Just left a couple out there today, but still very close to the lead.''

There was also the fortunate bounce for Park, when the South Korean's approach shot at No. 18 hit the rocks along the waterline, bouncing at least twice before ricocheting back into the fairway. She hit from there to set up her second birdie putt in a row before making her turn.

''I thought it was definitely in the water but everybody clapped, so I thought I got really lucky,'' said Park, who didn't see the ball bounce back into play. '' Yeah, I got a good break on the front nine, a little bad break on the back nine, so it evens out.''