Puerto Rico’s Maria Torres shot a 2-under-par 69 on Friday to maintain a share of the lead after the second round of The Evian Championship, but she has plenty of company at the top in Evian-Les-Bains, France.
Amy Olson posted the low round of the day with a 6-under 65 to pull even with Torres at 8-under for the tournament along with fellow American Mo Martin and South Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee, who both shot 66s on Friday.
The Evian is the fifth and final major of 2018 for the LPGA Tour.
“It was a lot of fun,” Olson told LPGA.com. “Ultimately, there’s a lot of golf left … just staying in it, staying focused, and just continuing to do what I do. That’s going to be the key.”
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda shared the first-round lead with Torres, and is only one shot off the pace after posting a 70 on Friday. Another shot back at 6-under is a group of seven players that includes Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall, Canadian Brooke Henderson and former world No. 1 So Yeon Ryu from South Korea.
Three South Koreans are tied at 5-under: Amy Yang, Sei Young Kim and Inbee Park, who is attempting to complete the career grand slam this week.
Defending champion Anna Nordqvist remains within striking distance at 1-under after carding a 70 on Friday. She is in a tie for 30th, one stroke better than countrywoman Pernilla Lindberg, who won the first major of the year at the ANA Inspiration, and New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.
Current No. 1 Sung Hyun Park won’t be around for the weekend. The South Korean’s even-par 71 on Friday left her three shots off the cut line at 6-over for the tournament. No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn made the cut, but at 2-over she has a lot of work to do to play her way into contention.
After shooting a 71 on Thursday, top-ranked American Lexi Thompson struggled to a 4-over 75 in the second round that left her one shot off the 3-over cut line.
Torres has finished in the top 10 at only two tournaments in her debut season, last accomplishing the feat at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in July. She has missed the cut in nine of her last 12 Tour starts.
Torres began her second round with a pair of bogeys, but rebounded to birdie three of her next five holes and added one more on her back nine to get to 8-under.
“It started out a little bit rocky, but it started to roll again,” she told LPGA.com of her second round. “I just tried to give me opportunities. Yesterday I had kind of the same period, so I was like ‘hey, it happened yesterday so just relax. You have 60 more holes to go.'”
Almost a year ago to the date, Torres was with her family in her native Puerto Rico as Hurricane Maria struck and brought disaster. As a result of the storm, Torres almost didn’t make it back to the U.S. for the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School, where she claimed the last spot in the final stage to become the first woman from Puerto Rico to get a full LPGA Tour card.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Torres said. “Just being out here and playing What more could you ask for? You’re out here just playing golf with friends … it’s sunny. I’m just really grateful.”
Olson holds the NCAA individual record with 20 victories while starring at North Dakota State University, but the 89th-ranked North Dakota native is still seeking her first LPGA Tour victory.
What is Olson’s game plan for the weekend?
“Hit fairways, hit greens and make putts,” she said with a grin.
–Field Level Media