MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) – Pauline Roussin made a hole-in-one and teamed with fellow rookie Dewi Weber to take a three-stroke lead Thursday in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, leaving Annika Sorenstam and Madelene Sagstrom five shots behind.
Tied with the 51-year-old Sorenstam and Sagstrom after an opening 5-under 65 in alternate-shot play Wednesday, Roussin and Weber had a 61 at Midland Country Club in the better-ball round to reach 14-under 126. The teams will play alternate shot Friday and finish Saturday with better ball.
“We’re just going to do more of the same,” Weber said. “I know that sounds so boring and I’m so sorry for that, but we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. I think what we’ve been doing has been working really well.”
Sorenstam and Sagstrom slipped back with a 66.
Sorenstam is making her second LPGA Tour start of the year and only her third since retiring after the 2008 season. The Hall of Famer missed the cut in the US Women’s Open last month, then tied for fourth last week in Nevada in the mostly male American Century Championship.
“I really like this format and, of course, playing with Madelene,” Sorenstam said. “It’s a highlight. She’s one of the upcoming stars and she has done so well. We’ve been playing together a little bit in Orlando. I have a great friendship with her.”
Roussin, the Frenchwoman playing on Bastille Day and her mother’s birthday, aced the par-3 seventh with a 46-degree wedge.
“It helps when you have people around you to just talk to,” Roussin said. “We’re having fun both with our caddies as well, so we created that bubble I would say, and it just helps to think about the next shot once you’ve hit the previous one.”
Roussin and Weber, from the Netherlands, didn’t know each other very well before this week.
“We both last minute happened to be looking for a partner,” Weber said. “I knew her game a little bit. I knew she was quite fun to be around, so I just texted her and said, `Hey, I heard you’re looking for a partner. ‘”
US Solheim Cup partners Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas were second, also shooting 61.
“I think for the most part I felt like I was just there cheering her along, but in the end I hit a couple of good putts,” Kupcho said. “Ham and egged it pretty well.”
The teams of Matilda Castren-Kelly Tan and Sarah Kemp-Alena Sharp each shot 61 to match Tiffany Chan-Haeji Kang (62), Jodi Ewart Shadoff-Emma Talley (64) and Pornanong Phatlum-Pavarisa Yoktuan (64) at 10 under.
Sorenstam and Sagstrom were 9 under with Karrie Webb-Marina Alex (62), Sophia Popov-Anne van Dam (61) and A Lim Kim-Yealimi Noh (62). Sisters Nelly and Jessica Korda (63) were 8 under.
Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare followed an opening 71 with a 65 to miss the cut by a stroke. Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, also dropped out – shooting 73-64.
The tournament is scheduled to end Saturday so players can head to France next week for the fourth major of the year at the Evian Championship. That will start the European portion of the LPGA Tour schedule that includes the Women’s British Open at Muirfield.