LOS ANGELES: France’s Celine Boutier and Karine Icher shot a best ball eight-under 62 for a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational tournament on Thursday.
Boutier and Icher birdied four of the first five holes and closed with three straight birdies to finish at 10-under 130 through two rounds of the first-ever team event in LPGA Tour history.
“Our games complement each other really well,” Boutier said. “When I was struggling a bit, she was there to save the team, and the opposite, so it was pretty good.”
The French pair are level with Italy’s Giulia Molinaro and Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, who fired a nine under 61 and American’s Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel who posted a 64.
The tournament got underway a day earlier than traditional LPGA Tour events in order to allow players time to travel to next week’s Evian Championship in France.
The 71 two-woman teams will compete for a US$2 million purse at Midland Country Club in Midland, Michigan, with each day alternating between an alternate-shot format and best-ball.
The teams won’t go head-to-head in match-play style, instead, they will play out each hole for a stroke-play score.
Some of the world’s top players, including world number one Park Sung-hyun, are skipping the event as they prepare for the Evian, which will be quickly followed by the Women’s British Open.
Meadow had one of the best rounds of the day by rolling in seven birdies and one bogey while Molinaro kept bogeys off her card.
“Steph at the beginning was putting extremely well and made all the putts at the start,” Molinaro said.
“When I missed one on a par-three, she looked over and was like, ‘Hey, we’re a team. When one person’s not playing well, the other one is going to pick up the slack.’ Then I managed to roll two of them in.”