Golf: Kerr, Mason join Icher atop LPGA leaderboard

Cristie Kerr tees off the 18th hole during Round Three of the KIA Classic at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort on March 25, 2017.
Cristie Kerr tees off the 18th hole during Round Three of the KIA Classic at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort on March 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Cristie Kerr and Caroline Masson joined Karine Icher atop the ANA Inspiration leaderboard on Friday (March 31) after completion of the weather-hit first round of the year's first major golf championship.

The trio were tied at five-under 67 as the second round got underway at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

High winds forced organizers to halt play on Thursday with almost 50 players on the course. Extensive clean-up was required around the course, including the removal of several downed trees.

France's Icher was in the clubhouse on 67 on Thursday, her birdies at three of four par-three holes on the course helping the 38-year-old take the clubhouse lead.

A four-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, Icher is seeking a first LPGA Tour title.

America's Kerr and Germany's Masson had to complete their rounds on Friday morning.

Kerr, who finished fourth last week in Carlsbad, California, capped her round with back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth. She finished with six birdies overall but said she wouldn't get ahead of herself.

"It's very early in the tournament," Kerr said. "I'm super happy with my first round and I've just got to take it day by day." Although the weather delay made for a long day on Friday, Masson was happy with the decision to stop play on Thursday.

"I think it was a good call, definitely, because it was getting unplayable and a little dangerous," said Masson, who had little more than an hour between the end of her first round and her second-round tee time.

England's Charley Hull and Norway's Suzann Pettersen also completed the first round on Friday morning, joining a group lying one shot off the lead that also included American Michelle Wie and South Koreans Seong Eun-Jeong, Park Sung-Hyun and Ryu So-Yeon.

World number one and defending champion Lydia Ko was in a big group on two-under par 70 going into the second round.

The group also included Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, the world number two who is closing in on Ko's number one ranking.