Making the most of her home-away-from-home-field advantage, Alena Sharp has surged to the top of the leader board at the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic in Mesa, Ariz.
The Hamilton native, who makes her home now in Chandler, Ariz., shot four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Symetra Tour's season opener on Saturday to join Americans Stephanie Kono, Tiffany Joh and Jenny Suh in the lead.
Kono was among a handful of players who didn't finish the second round Saturday because of darkness. She and the other non-finishers will return to Longbow Golf Club early Sunday morning to wrap up the round before the final 18 holes begins later in the day.
But regardless of how Kono finishes her final four holes early Sunday, Sharp will be in good position to capture her first Symetra Tour title.
Sharp usually plays on the LPGA Tour but did not make the trip to Australia and Asia this month for the first few events of its 2013 season. She picked up a victory on an Arizona mini-tour last week and could score her second win in as many weeks Sunday with another hot round.
Her 68 Saturday was among the best of the day and gave her a two-round total of four-under 140.
Two other Canadians are not far behind, both within the top 10. Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., and Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., were both at two under overall, among a group of four ladies sharing seventh spot. Richdale completed 16 holes Saturday.
Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ont., was headed toward making the cut as well. She was four over overall through 15 holes Saturday and tied for 37th place. Izzy Beisiegel of Saint-Hilaire, Que., was another three shots back and also projected to make the cut, on the number.
Jessica Wallace of Langley and Danielle Mills of Pointe-Claire, Que., failed the reach the third and final round Sunday. Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., was disqualified Friday after the first round for forgetting to sign her score card.