Scotland’s Catriona Matthew had an eagle and five birdies in a seven-under par 64 to seize sole possession of the Manulife Financial Classic LPGA lead after Friday’s second round.
Matthew, ranked 13th in the world, had a 36-hole total of 15-under 127 for a three-stroke lead over American Angela Stanford, who started the day tied with Matthew for the lead.
Stanford carded five birdies with one bogey in her four-under 67 which put her on 12-under 130.
World No. 1 Inbee Park, who won her third major title of the year at the US Women’s Open a fortnight ago, celebrated her 25th birthday by shooting a four-under 67 that left her five shots off the lead.
Matthew kick-started her round with an eagle at the Grey Silo course’s par-five fifth, where she rolled in a 25-foot putt.
She added a birdie at the next hole and nabbed another birdie at the eighth to make the turn in 12-under.
“I played really well again, you know, gave myself a lot of chances,” Matthew said. “It feels really good. I’ve holed a lot of putts. I’ve given myself a lot of chances, so I wouldn’t say I’ve really holed many super long ones, but every time I give myself a chance, I’m kind of taking advantage of it.”
Matthew added birdies at 11 and 16 before capping her round with a four-foot birdie putt at the last.
Five players were tied for third on 11-under 131, including two-time LPGA winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, 2011 US Solheim Cup team member Ryann O’Toole, Spain’s Belen Mozo and South Koreans Meena Lee and Chella Choi.
Park was one stroke back on 132, still within striking distance of a fourth LPGA victory in as many starts. She opened her round on the back nine and when she made the turn at 18 spectators in the grandstand at the green sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot 68 for 6-under 136, but compatriot and former world No. 1 Yani Tseng missed the cut after carding a one-over 143.
Additional reporting by staff writer