VIENNA, Ohio -- The field is weak, the weather report is bad and darkness fell just as the final putt rattled into the cup.
Michelle Estill and Young-A Yang didn't care.
Seeking her first victory in 13 years, Estill shot a 5-under 67
to share the lead with Yang, a second-year pro chasing her first
career win, after Saturday's rain-delayed second round of the Giant
Eagle LPGA Classic.
In a tournament without Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park, Se Ri Pak
or even amateur Michelle Wie, the winner will face the same
challenge as any other week.
"You've still got to shoot a number," Estill said after
finishing the first 36 holes at 6-under 138.
The start of the second round was delayed by 2 hours, 15
minutes. More rain is predicted for the final round, with the field
going off early in threesomes from the Nos. 1 and 10 tees in order
to get the round in.
The top 17 money-winners aren't in the field, mostly because
they are preparing for the rich Evian Masters in Paris next week
and then staying in Europe for the year's final major, the Women's
Estill, who lost her card after earning just $13,401 a year ago,
picked up her only tour victory in the 1991 Ping-Cellular One.
Despite not winning, she has made a steady living in her 14
years on the road, finishing in the top 50 on the money list five
times. Still, she hasn't had a top-10 finish since 2001.
"After the last couple of years, a win would help my
self-confidence," the 41-year-old said. "Last year I really had a
lot of doubt and I was thinking about maybe getting into something
else. Now the fun's back in the game for me."
Estill, who opened with a 71, holed a 143-yard 7-iron for an
eagle on the third hole and then added four more birdies against
"I didn't realize I shot a 67," she said. "I kept adding it
over and over."
Yang, a native of South Korea who attended the University of
Tennessee and now lives in Knoxville, started the day a shot back
of first-round leader Gloria Park's 66. Her 71 was built on three
birdies and two bogeys.
She said she welcomed being in the final group after finishing
tied for seventh at the Sybase in May.
"I'm pretty comfortable with the position I'm in, maybe because
I had the experience at Sybase," Yang said. "I'm playing with a
veteran tomorrow and hopefully I'll learn from watching her play
and we'll see what happens."
Laura Diaz shot a 70 and was a shot back at 139 along with Moira
Dunn, who had a 69.
A reunion with caddie Thad Kael spurred Diaz to her best
position heading into a final round since undergoing ankle surgery
in December. Kael and Diaz went their separate ways over a year ago
before getting back together earlier this week.
"My caddie quit and he just begged for the job back -- no, I'm
just kidding," Diaz said, getting Kael's attention as he sat a few
feet away. "Having a caddie back that has a lot of confidence in
you, that totally helps my confidence. I was shocked at the
difference it made."
Nadina Taylor shot a 69 and was alone in fifth, with Leta
Lindley (70) and Heather Bowie (69) three shots back of the
co-leaders at 141.
First-round leader Gloria Park was 10 shots worse than her
"It was just a tough day," she said. "I just had one or two
Ironically, two of the biggest names missed the cut -- defending
champion Rachel Teske and the top money-winner in the field, Pat
Hurst at No. 18 on the list.