NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (AP) -- Last week was big in very different ways for Annika Sorenstam and Allison Finney.
Sorenstam beat Rachel Hetherington in a playoff to win the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the season and the 22nd of her career.
Finney birdied her next-to-last hole of the second round to make the cut by one stroke, ending a string of four straight tournaments where she failed to advance to the weekend.
On Friday, Finney capped a 5-under-par 66 with a 30-foot birdie putt to take a 1-stroke lead over Sorenstam halfway through the Big Apple Classic at Wykagyl Country Club.
''Making the cut last week doesn't sound like much, but I was playing poorly,'' said Finney, who finished tied for 51st in that tournament. ''I was able to relax last weekend and get my rhythm.''
Finney, whose only LPGA Tour win was in 1989 and whose best finish this year has been a tie for 32nd, was one of three golfers to share the first-round lead. Her 9-under 133 total was 13 strokes better than the cut and will have her playing with Sorenstam in the final pairing Saturday.
''I'm just hitting steady, not great, steady,'' Finney said. ''I hope it keeps up.''
Rosie Jones, one of the first-round leaders, had a 68 and was alone in third at 135. Ashli Bunch had a 67 and was another two strokes back.
Play was delayed for 1 hour, 40 minutes when a thunderstorm pelted the area.
Finney, who started on No. 10, was on her third hole when the storm hit.
''I was nervous going out, and during the delay I talked with friends, relaxed and felt better,'' Finney said. ''I started playing really steady. The whole rain thing was a bonus.''
After making the turn at 5 under by birdieing the par-5 18th, she birdied Nos. 1 and 2 to give her three in a row. She also had a birdie on the par-3 seventh and then closed the round with the long birdie putt that drew high-fives from her playing partners.
''I hit a 9-iron in a little short, but it was a straight putt up the hill,'' Finney said.
Sorenstam wasn't affected by the delay.
''I signed my card and two minutes later the siren went off,'' she said.
Sorenstam's win last week tied money-leader Karrie Webb for the tour lead for victories this year.
''Right now, I have a ton of confidence and I'm putting well for me,'' Sorenstam said after matching her lowest round in this tournament, a third-round 65 in 1998, when she won it by setting records for margin of victory (8) and total (19 under).
She didn't need much help from the putter Friday. Only one of her five birdie putts was longer than 5 feet -- an 18-footer on the par-3 16th -- and her eagle came when she holed a shot from a greenside bunker on the par-5 15th.
''I bogeyed 14, and even though I felt I was playing well it was a sour note,'' said Sorenstam, who also started play from the 10th tee. ''I made that bunker shot and it got me going. It was one of those shots that can always happen, and it did.''
The eagle put Sorenstam at 3 under. She birdied Nos. 16 and 18 to make the turn at 5 under and then added birdies at Nos. 5, 6 and 8, all on putts inside 5 feet.
Jones, who was on her eighth hole when the storm hit, had all pars on her front nine and made three birdies on the back, including a 15-footer on the par-4 ninth.
''The delay didn't really affect me at all,'' said Jones, who finished second in the tournament in 1993 and third in 1990. ''I didn't have a lot of adrenaline going, I was kind of parring along. I ate a little bit, hung out a little bit.
''You have to change your game, though. The greens were more receptive. They weren't dart boards, but they were playing different.''
Kim Williams, the third first-round leader, shot a 74 and was at 141.
Helen Alfredsson, who started on No. 10, was 5 under through No. 5, but finished with three bogeys and a double-bogey for a 72 that left her at 142, tied with Webb, who had a second 71.
Juli Inkster, third on the money list, had a 73 and was at 143.
Sherri Steinhauer, the defending champion at the tournament sponsored by Japan Airlines, had a 71 and was at 145, one shot better than the cut.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.