SYLVANIA, Ohio — Linn Grant missed a chance to become the second LPGA Tour player to break 60. Putting herself in position for a breakthrough victory in the Dana Open was a big consolation on a long, rainy Saturday at Highland Meadows.
Nine under on her first 13 holes, Grant played the final five in even par for a 9-under 62. Fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam is the lone LPGA Tour player to shoot 59, accomplishing the feat in the 2001 Standard Register Ping at par-72 Moon Valley in Phoenix.
“There was a spectator who called it out in my face,” Grant said when asked if she thought about a 59. “He just came up to me and he said, `Do you think you have a 59 in you?′ And then all of a sudden I was like, `Oh, God.′ So, I just tried to just not focus on it at all.”
Two strokes back entering the round, Grant had an 18-under 195 total to take a six-stroke lead over U.S. Women's Open champion Allisen Corpuz (68), Stephanie Kyriacou (65), Maria Fassi (67), Matilda Castren (67) and Emily Pedersen (67).
Seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, the 24-year-old Grant won the Jabra Ladies Open in May in France for her fifth Ladies European Tour title in two seasons.
Grant opened with a par Saturday and birdied the next four. After a rain delay of 3 hours, 48 minutes, she resumed play on No. 8 and added a birdie on No. 9 for a front-nine 29. She holed out from 148 yards for eagle on the par-4 11th and birdied Nos. 12 and 13.
“Eleven was amazing,” Grant said. “I hit a really good drive and a really good second shot, it just took one bounce pretty much and went in. I think it’s my first hole-out eagle, probably. Just really cool.”
Needing to play the final five in 3 under for a 59, the former Arizona State player parred the next two, bogeyed the par-4 16th, birdied the par-5 17th and parred the par-5 18th.
“After, probably, 13 I just felt like it was maybe going a bit too fast,” Grant said. “So, just starting to get nervous and felt like I didn’t have control over the situation at all. So, I just held back a little bit. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I felt like that was what I needed to do. So just really happy that I took control of the situation.”
Corpuz won the U.S. Women’s Open a week ago at Pebble Beach for her first tour title. She played alongside Grant and second-round leader Annie Park in the final group.
“Linn absolutely lit it up today,” Corpuz said. “I’m hoping the best for her tomorrow. I mean, no one’s going to catch up if she plays the way she did today.”
Park had a 71 to drop into a tie for seventh at 11 under with Minjee Lee (67).