South Korean Kim Hyo-joo fired four birdies in a three-under-par 68 on Friday to maintain a two-shot lead in The Ascendant LPGA in Dallas, Texas.
The world No 7, who has five top-five finishes this year but has yet to add to her tally of five LPGA Tour titles, had a 36-hole total of 10-under-par 132, two clear of Paraguay’s Sofia Garcia with Celine Boutier and Lexi Thompson sharing third another two strokes back on eight under.
“My shots were better than yesterday, but unfortunately the score wasn’t as good,” said Kim, who teed off on 10 and birdied three in a row at 17, 18 and 1.
She added a birdie at the 3rd, but gave that stroke back at the next hole with her only bogey of the day.
“I did hit the green a lot more, so I’m satisfied with that,” she said. “I was at the top of the leaderboard a couple times this season but weekend play hasn’t been as good sometimes.
“This week, I’m hoping to focus more on my play and play as well as I did on the first day and today and finish strong.”
Garcia, a rookie who played collegiate golf at Texas Tech, also had four birdies and a bogey.
Thompson, who will play next week in the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas, carded the best round of the day with a 65, despite blustery afternoon conditions.
“It definitely got windier,” said Thompson, who won the last of her 11 LPGA Tour titles in 2019. “You know you’re going to get that on this golf course, so really committing to the lines and playing smart off the tees and playing for that bounce-out.”
France’s Boutier, who captured her first Major title at the Evian Championship in July, is chasing a fourth title of the season on the course that’s her adopted Texas home.
“You have to be a very good ball-striker out here,” Boutier said. “I feel like especially when the wind starts to pick up like it is right now, you definitely have to be smart about your strategy.”
Boutier is making her first start since helping Europe retain the Solheim Cup in Spain.
European Solheim Cup teammate Leona Maguire of Ireland carded a 67 to head a group on five-under 137 that also included Spain’s Azahara Munoz (71), Puerto Rico’s Maria Torres (68) and American Marina Alex (70).
South Africa’s Paula Reto missed the cut after rounds of 72 and 73 left her on three-over 145.
© Agence France-Presse