It started out as a nice calm day out at Mission Hills Country Club, but before the day ended it became hot and very windy. The afternoon pairings had to deal with the vicious Rancho Mirage winds, and as usually is the case, the cream has risen to the top of the leader board.
Inbee Park shot the day's low score, a five under par 67, to take a one stroke lead into the weekend.
Lizette Salas (68), is one shot back. Caroline Hedwall (68), and Guilia Sergas (69), enter the weekend two shots behind the leader. It is the players directly behind them that could cause lots of trouble in the last 2 rounds. There are 20 players within 5 shots of the lead, including such stars as: Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Se Ri Pak, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, and Michelle Wie. Paula Creamer and Ai Miyazato's 68's were bested only by Park.
After Park birdied the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes giving her a 2 stroke lead, it looked like it might be the start of a runaway. That would change quickly as she bogeyed the 14th hole, and failed to record another birdie the rest of the round, allowing the players beneath her to gain some ground.
Number one player in the world Stacy Lewis shot a 1 under 71, and is still in contention just 7 shots back.
Yani Tseng ranked number 2, saw her tournament chances come to an end when she triple bogeyed the seventh hole (her 16th hole of the day), and finished at +3.
Third Ranked Na Yeon Choi, who could become #1 this week with a victory, struggled in with a 75, which left her 6 strokes back.
Azahara Munoz, Brittany Lincicome, Chie Arimura, and Sandra Gal, were some of the bigger names who failed to make the cut.
It looks like we are in for a very exciting weekend, with so many top stars having a chance to win the year's first major championship.
For the full leaderboard see the link at the top of this page. Live leaderboards are always available at this site.