Andrea Lee of the United States grabbed a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea on Friday.
The 24-year-old shot her second consecutive bogey-free round for another six-under-par 66 in Wonju, the lone LPGA stop in South Korea this year.
Lee is at 12 under after two rounds, two strokes ahead of three players – world No 2 and overnight leader Atthaya Thitikul, local amateur Kim Min-sol and American Lilia Vu.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was in tied fifth, four shots off the lead.
It was another disappointing day for world No 1 and defending champion Ko Jin-young of South Korea, who carded a 79 after her 80 on Thursday. Ko is returning from two months out with a wrist injury.
Thailand’s Thitikul could replace her at the top of the world rankings with a victory this week.
Halfway leader Lee, who was born in Los Angeles to South Korean immigrant parents, said playing in her parents’ native country carried a special meaning.
“Just to be here and to play in Korea for the first time means a lot,” she said. “And if I were to be able to cap it off with the win, it would be even more special.”
South Africa Paula Reto is 10 shots back on two under after she followed up her opening round 72 with a 70 on Thursday while Ashleigh Buhai is in a lot of trouble, way off the pace at seven over.
The BMW Ladies Championship has a purse of $2-million.
© Agence France-Presse