Catriona Matthew remained atop the Airbus LPGA Classic leaderboard on Friday, birdieing four of the last seven holes to take a one-stroke advantage over Charley Hull into the weekend.
The 44-year-old Matthew had a five-under 67 to reach 13-under 131. The 18-year-old Hull also shot 67.
Matthew had six birdies and a bogey — on the par-four ninth — in her round.
“I played actually probably pretty well today,” said Matthew, who opened with a 64 on Thursday. “I hit 17 greens, so I gave myself a lot of chances. I didn’t hole many on the front nine, but then the putter got going a little bit on the back nine.”
The Scot won the last of her four LPGA Tour titles in 2011.
“Obviously, there’s still 36 holes to go,” Matthew said. “If it’s anything like the first two days, we’re going to have to keep making birdies.”
Hull also dropped a stroke on No. 9, her final hole of the day. The English player had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch before closing with her lone bogey of the week.
“Hitting it pretty straight,” Hull said. “Hit my irons good and holing some good putts. Missing a few putts, but you’re always going to miss a few putts when you’re playing well, but I’m just excited about this golf course. I quite like it.”
Hull won a Ladies European Tour event in Morocco in March a week before her 18th birthday. She closed with a nine-under 62 and won on the first hole of a playoff.
Top-ranked Inbee Park missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 76, ending her cuts streak at 22 events. She had 34 putts in the second round and played her final nine in four-over 40.
The South Korean star is winless in nine tour starts this season after sweeping the first three majors last year and finishing the season with six victories. She last missed a cut in May last year in the Bahamas.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng also missed the cut after carding rounds of 71 and 75.
Anna Nordqvist, Jessica Korda and Park Hee-young were 10-under.
Nordqvist, the winner in Thailand and Carlsbad this year, had a 66. Korda, the Bahamas champion, shot 67, and Park had a 66.
Park, playing alongside Matthew, eagled the par-five 16th for the second straight day.
Kraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson (65) and Jenny Shin (68) were 9 under.
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, No. 4 Suzann Pettersen and three-time Mobile winner Pak Se-ri topped the group at eight under.
Lewis, the 2012 champion who won the North Texas LPGA Shootout three weeks ago, matched Pettersen with a 70.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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