April 30, 2016 / 12:02 AM / in a year

Perfect Piller piles on birdies for second-round Texas lead

Apr 1, 2016; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Gerina Piller at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - American Gerina Piller continued her sizzling recent form with a ball-striking clinic, hitting every green in regulation on her way to the second-round clubhouse lead at the Texas Shootout in Irving on Friday.

She rolled in several medium-length putts before completing her day in style with a tap-in birdie at the last for a bogey-free six-under-par 65 at Las Colinas Country Club.

On a day when half the field did not complete the round due to fierce afternoon thunderstorms, Piller posted a 10-under 132 halfway total, one stroke ahead of South Korean Ji Eun-hee (66).

Fellow South Korean Hur Mi-jung was alone in third place on eight-under after 12 holes when play was halted for the day.

The second round is scheduled to resume early Saturday, with the third round set to begin late morning.

Piller, who lives in nearby Fort Worth, is enjoying sleeping in her own bed this week, albeit without her husband, PGA Tour player Martin Piller, who is competing in New Orleans.

“I love sleeping in my bed, our bed,” said the 31-year-old, who is coming off top-six finishes in her past three LPGA events.

Though ranked 12th on the LPGA money list and 20th in the Rolex world rankings, Piller has not won an LPGA event, but believes she is getting closer.

“I’ve been making lots of birdies. It just seems like everything’s coming together,” she continued. “I’ve been really working on confidence and believing in myself.”

If Piller maintains her lead, she will be oldest winner of an LPGA event this year by nearly eight years, but there is a long way to go.

“I’ve been hitting it really good off the tee and my irons have been pretty spot on. Just got to get the putts to drop.”

Piller had a significantly better day than South Korean veteran Pak Se-ri, who withdrew after burning her leg with hot tea.

Pak, a 25-times LPGA winner, inspired a boom in the women’s game in her homeland when she won the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open.

The 38-year-old has said that this will be her final season on tour.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine

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