Thai teenager Ariya Jutanugarn fired an even-par 71 on Friday to keep a one-stroke lead after the second round of the US$1.3 million LPGA Kingsmill Championship.
The 17-year-old, who is playing on a sponsor’s exemption, stood on seven-under 135 after 36 holes for a one-stroke lead over US veterans Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, German Sandra Gal and American Cristie Kerr were fourth on 137 with China’s Feng Shanshan, Japan’s Ai Miyazato, South Koreans Lee Il-hee and Ryu So-yeon and Americans Juli Inkster and Katie Burnett on 138.
On Friday, Ariya began her round off the 10th tee and opened with a bogey, then stumbled back with bogeys at the par-four 16th and par-three 17th. All came with missed putts from within five feet.
“I hit my irons very good, my driver is, like, perfect,” she said. “So I just wanted to try to fix my putting.”
She found her form with birdies at the par-five third — where she rolled in a 45-footer — the par-three fifth and par-five seventh to jump back into the lead.
“You know, when I first started on the front nine, I saw the leaderboard, so it’s OK, I just want to keep [playing] my game,” Ariya said.
“Right now for me everybody still has a chance to win, so I’ll just do my best my last two days,” she said.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng finished the second round with two birdies and three bogeys for a two-day total of one-under 141, leaving her tied for 21st place.
Tseng bogeyed at the third and then at the fifth before grabbing a birdie at the ninth. On the back nine, the former world No. 1 birdied at the 14th, but bogeyed at the next hole. After finishing the first day tied for 19th, Tseng slid down to 21st place with a one-over par 72 and a two-day total of one-under 141.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Candie Kung carded two birdies and four bogeys for a two-over 73, finishing the day tied for 51st with a two-day total of two-over 144.
Her compatriot Amy Hung missed the cut after finishing the second round seven-over on 149.