France’s Herbin takes clubhouse lead at ShopRite Classic

Celine Herbin of France reacts to her missed birdie putt on the seventh green during the second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey, on June 9, 2018

New York (AFP) – France’s Celine Herbin fired her second straight five-under 66 to take the clubhouse lead in the weather-hit second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Saturday. 

Herbin, who matched her lowest round of the season, was tied at 10-under overall with South Korea’s Kim Sei-young who was eight-under for her round through 15 holes when darkness halted play for the day.

“It’s a good position to be in,” said Herbin, the world number 269. “I don’t really look at the leaderboard so I didn’t really know what was going on today. I was just focused on my game.”

Kim was storming up the leaderboard with nine birdies on Friday, including four straight on her opening nine, a run that started at the par-three 15th.

Her only blemish was a bogey on the par-four 14th hole.

Kim will try to overtake Herbin when she completes her round on Sunday morning.

Four players were tied for fourth at eight-under par including South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai, Aussie Su Oh and Americans Mariah Stackhouse and Annie Park.

This is the fifth consecutive week that inclement weather has struck an LPGA Tour event and the seventh time this season.

The players had to endure an almost three hour mid-round delay because of storms around the Bay Course in Galloway, New Jersey.

When the horn sounded there were still 36 players on the course who will return to finish their rounds on Sunday morning.

Herbin’s best result of the season is a tie for 28th at the Mediheal Championship. 

In 2015 she won the French Open on the Ladies European Tour in front of her hometown crowd. She has never held a lead before on the LPGA Tour but isn’t worried. 

“Maybe my age is a positive thing. Maturity definitely helps me,” she said. “I’ve been there. I know how to deal with that. 

“Of course I’m going to be nervous tomorrow if I am in the last group. It’s part of the game. If you are not, it’s very strange.”

Herbin is seeking to become the first player from France to win on the LPGA Tour since Patricia Meunier-Lebouc capture the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California.