Swedish superstar Annika Sorenstam notched her second straight round without a bogey on Friday to seize a three-shot lead in the US$2.2 million LPGA Michelob Ultra Open.
Sorenstam, who had seven birdies in the first round, had five on Friday in a five-under 66 that left her at 12-under 130.
The former world No. 1 shrugged off two rain delays to put herself in position for a second tournament triumph in three weeks.
She beat Paula Creamer in a playoff two weeks ago at the Stanford International Pro-Am.
Sorenstam teed off at No. 10 and birdied Nos. 12, 16 and 18. She added two more after the turn at three and seven.
“It was a long day,” Sorenstam said. “When I was looking at the score, I could hardly remember what I did on the back nine, which is my front nine.”
She was especially pleased at being error-free thus far.
“I’m happy about that,” said the 37-year-old, who is on the rebound after a season marred by injury. “I can’t remember the last time that was, but anything can really happen on this course. I’m just trying to play smart. I’m trying to play conservative at times and aggressive at other times.”
Lurking behind the former world No. 1 is the current top women’s golfer, Lorena Ochoa.
Mexico’s Ochoa, who had her string of four straight wins snapped last week, posted five birdies on Friday and was tied with South Korean Jeong Jang for second place at nine-under 133.
Ochoa also started at the 10th and was flawless on the back nine, but had two bogeys coming in, including one on her final hole.
“I played good today,” Ochoa said. “It was a solid day, especially from the tee. I bogeyed the last hole, but nothing we can do. It’s one of those things. I’m right there, so I’m excited for the weekend and give myself a chance.”
Meanwhile, Jang notched up seven birdies — including four straight to finish her 66 — to pull even with Ochoa.
Jang’s performance was especially impressive given she has been hindered by a wrist injury.
“My goal was, I don’t want to miss fairway because my wrist been hurting like over a year, so I play practice round Tuesday and was really long,” Jang said.
Meena Lee sank four birdies, but closed with bogey at 18 for a 68 and a 135-total that put her five strokes behind Sorenstam.
Scotland’s Mhairi McKay, who held a one-stroke lead after Thursday’s first round after a sparkling 63, ballooned to a 77 to fall into a tie for 33rd at 140.