Matilda Castren leads rain-delayed LPGA Tour event in Texas

THE COLONY, Texas — Matilda Castren shot a 5-under 66 after a six-hour storm delay Friday to take the lead in the suspended second round of the Volunteers of America Classic.

With the start of play delayed by lightning and rain, the 26-year-old former Florida State star from Finland had five birdies in the bogey-free round to reach 10 under at Old American. More than 1 1/2 inches of rain fell on the course.

“I spent the whole day here at the golf course,” Castren said. “It was great because there was food all day, friends, and I hung out with the other players and caddies. We had a lot of stuff to talk about. We were checking the radar every five minutes waiting for the updates. Actually, went kind of quickly. It was mainly the food that kept me here.”

She won the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship three weeks ago in California at foggy Lake Merced to become the first Finnish winner in LPGA Tour history

“There’s a lot of golf left to play and not everyone has even finished the second round,” Castren said. “So, I’m really happy where I’m at right now. I don’t think it’s going to hold for tomorrow for the third round, but I’m really happy where my game is going and how I’m playing right now.”

Jeongeun Lee6, the South Korean player who won the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open and lives in nearby Irving, was 8 under — following an opening 64 with a 70.

Jin Young Ko, the first-round leader after a 63, also was 8 under with 14 holes left. Only half of the players were able to finish the round before dark

After a nearly two-year run at No. 1 in the women’s world golf ranking, Ko — who has a home in nearby Frisco — lost the No. 1 ranking when Nelly Korda won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Sunday for her second straight victory.

Because of the wet conditions players were allowed to use preferred lies in the fairways.

“It was raining too much,” Lee6 said. “The fairway and greens are too much wet. So, second shot and tee shot is the difference.”

Celine Boutier and Gerina Piller were 8 under. Boutier shot 67, while Piller had 13 holes remaining.