Jennifer Kupcho fired six birdies in a six-under-par 64 on Friday to share the halfway lead in the LPGA Pelican Championship with fellow American Lexi Thompson.
Thompson also posted a 64 for an 11-under-par 129, notching eight birdies and two bogeys at Pelican Club in Belleair Florida.
Kupcho, a former top-ranked amateur still seeking a first LPGA tour title, said her game was matching up well with the Pelican Club layout.
“I think I am a really good ball-striker, so that helps going into the greens,” she said. “It’s so sectioned off with a lot of run-off, so you have to be on target.
“I’m just hitting really good iron shots and getting myself in a good position on the greens.”
Thompson will be chasing a 12th LPGA title at the weekend, but her first since 2019.
The former Major winner teed off on the 10th hole and after four birdies in her first nine holes bounced back from a bogey at the 2nd with three straight birdies at the 5th, 6th and 7th that tied her with Kupcho’s clubhouse lead.
She followed a bogey at the 8th with another birdie at the 9th.
She said she was enjoying the week and the test of the swing work she has put in with coach Martin Hall.
“I’ve just really been working extremely hard on and off the golf course,” she said, “so just putting that work to the test and believing in it.”
She described the course, with its wide fairways, as “a little bit more forgiving off the tee, for sure.
“I get to blast a good amount of 3-woods and drivers out there, which is always nice. It’s definitely a second-shot golf course with some of the greens being very tricky with the humps in the greens and making sure you leave it on the right side of the hole.”
The leading duo were one stroke in front of Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling and Ireland’s Leona Maguire.
Hsu carded a bogey-free 64 while Maguire, who led the first round with a 62, settled for a two-under-par 68 that featured four birdies and two bogeys.
“I felt like I played nice,” Maguire said. “I didn’t hole putts like I did yesterday, I hit some really good approach shots and didn’t quite take advantage.”
The low round of the day belonged to South Korean Lee Mi-hyang, who led a group of five players on 131 with a 62 that included an eagle two at the par-four 11th along with seven birdies and a bogey.
She was joined on 131 by Finland’s Matilda Castren, South Korean Kim Sei-young and Americans Nelly Korda and Christina Kim.
What a day, what a round! 👀
— LPGA (@LPGA) November 13, 2021
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