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Foster’s lead in Women’s Porter Cup is news to her

LEWISTON – Christina Foster vaulted to the top of the leader board Thursday following the second round of the Women’s Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club.

Only nobody seemed to know it.

Playing in the fourth-to-last grouping of the day, Foster and her playing partners did not have a walking scoreboard with them, as the last two groups did. So it took just about everybody by surprise when Foster’s 5-under round of 66 was posted.

Even she was a bit surprised.

“I tried not to think about it,” she said of her score, which came thanks to shooting 33 on the front and back nines. “I tried to play each hole individually and just do the best I could. Near the end, I was thinking about it. I was getting a little off line on some shots, but thankfully I managed to par in.”

Foster, a 19-year-old from the Toronto suburb of Concord, Ont., made seven birdies during her round against just two bogeys, carding her lowest career score in competition. She is at 4-under 138 through two rounds.

“My rhythm was really good today,” she said. “I didn’t really have a lot of quick swings. I’ve learned it’s very key to not do that. My putting was insanely good. I was making everything.”

Foster has a two-shot lead over fellow Canadian Josee Doyon, the first-round leader who followed a 3-under 68 in the first round with a 1-over 72 Thursday.

“Not a lot of pars today,” said Doyon, whose card was indeed filled with circles and squares. “I made five birdies – four on the back – and a bad double bogey on No. 9. Sometimes my putting was great, sometimes it wasn’t great at all.”

Doyon and Foster will be joined in the final round Friday by 18-year-old Ana Paula Valdes. She is at 2-under 140 through two rounds after shooting her second consecutive round of 1-under 70 Thursday. Both Valdes and Doyon missed a chance to be one off the lead by making bogey on the par-3 18th hole.

Valdes couldn’t convert a 7-foot par putt for a sand save, while Doyon was kicking herself after blowing a 2-foot putt for par. That came after a nifty putt through some sticky rough around the green.

“It was a huge break and I didn’t want to let it die,” Doyon said of her missed par putt, which created a 4-footer for bogey she was able to convert.

“It’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow,” Doyon said.

Lurking behind the leaders at even par through two rounds is 21-year-old Jennifer Ha. She birdied three of her last four holes to put herself squarely in contention.

Ha, who tied for second last year, appeared to lose her way on the par-5 13th hole when she moved the ball about 2 yards with two chip shots. That left her a 40-foot bogey putt, making a double bogey appear all but certain.

Ha, however, drained the long putt, keeping her round together.

“That was really important,” she said. “It built a lot of momentum going into those last holes by making that putt.”

Ha closed her round with a bending 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18. Last year, Ha watched as her teammate with Team Canada, Brooke Henderson, shot a sublime 62 while playing in the same group during the final round to win by three shots.

“What Brooke did was remarkable. Just to know that that is humanly possible is going to give me a lot of motivation going into tomorrow,” Ha said. “Hopefully, I can pull off something like that. … It seems like Porter Cup has been such a springboard for a lot of great players, so I’m hoping something like that can happen for me, too.”

Clarence’s Catherine Peters shot a second consecutive round of 2-over 73, which leaves her eight shots off the lead. Peters is the low player among 10 Western New Yorkers in the field.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com