Canada’s Sharp shares LPGA lead in Texas with Altomare, Knight

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Canada’s Alena Sharp charged up the leaderboard with five birdies and an eagle in a six-under par 65 on Friday to join a three-way tie for the lead in the LPGA Volunteers of America Classic.

Only a bogey at the 18th hole of the par-71 Old American Golf Club course in The Colony, Texas, prevented Sharp from holding the outright halfway lead.

Instead she joined Americans Brittany Altomare and Cheyenne Knight on nine-under 133.

The top trio – all seeking a first LPGA title – were one stroke in front of overnight leader Stephanie Meadow, who followed up a first-round 63 with an even par 71 to stand alone in fourth on 134.

Altomare teed off on 10 and her five birdies in a five-under 66 included three in a row at the second, third and fourth.

Knight had six birdies and two bogeys in her 67.

Sharp was five-under on the front nine thanks to birdies at the second and fourth, an eagle at the sixth – where she holed out from a greenside bunker – and another birdie at the seventh.

“I didn’t have a great lie,” she said of her spectacular bunker shot. “I had to really get low because I was against the back of the lip. I was just happy to get it out and it hit the pin and went in.”

Birdies at 12 and 17 boosted her to the outright lead before she gave a shot back at the last.

“I played solidly, drove it really well,” Sharp said. “I think you have to do that here, there’s some bunkers you need to avoid, be smart off the tee … I was always in the fairway, hit a lot of good shots, got lucky. It was just an easy round of golf. The golf gods were with me today.”

Americans Jaye Marie Green and Katherine Perry posted three-under 68s and were tied for fifth on 135.

Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn signed for a second straight 68 to head a group on 136 that also included England’s Georgia Hall, Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and American Jane Park.