South Korea’s Sung Hyun Park and Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg are tied for the lead at 12-under-par 132 after the second round of the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Friday.
American Jessica Korda is three strokes off the lead and in sole possession of third place behind Park and Lindberg heading into the weekend. Four players are tied for fourth at 7-under 137, including Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Charley Hull of England, Amy Olson of the United States, and Ayako Uehara of Japan.
This is the first of five majors this year on the LPGA Tour. None of the players at the front of the pack has won the tournament in the past.
Park began the day three shots off Lindberg’s first-round lead and bogeyed her opening hole. The former No. 1 player rebounded quickly with birdies on her next two holes and two more before making the turn.
Park, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion and Tour Rookie of the Year and current No. 4 player in the Rolex World Rankings, reeled off three birdies over her next four holes. And after a par on No. 14, she holed out for eagle from the fairway on the difficult 15th hole. At 8-under with three holes to play, she was threatening Lorena Ochoa’s tournament course record of 62, but was unable to mount a further charge with three pars to close out her 8-under round of 64.
As it stands, Park and Lindberg, who shot a 5-under 67 on Friday, both broke Ochoa’s 36-hole record of 133 set in 2006. And with calm conditions expected, several players figure to have a shot to break the 54-hole record of 13-under 203 shared by Amy Alcott (1988) and Dottie Pepper (1999).
The 72-hole record of 19-under 269 was also set by Pepper in 1999.
No. 1-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 2-under 70 on Friday and made the cut at 3-under for the first 36 holes. Defending champion So Yeon Ryu narrowly made the cut with a 1-over finish after two rounds.
Lexi Thompson, who lost the event in a controversial playoff last year, struggled to an even-par 72 and is eight shots off the lead at 4-under. Thompson switched putters over the offseason, and slid at least five makeable putts left of the hole on Friday. But she did nearly hole out for eagle on the 18th, tapping in for birdie.
Michelle Wie continued to battle dizziness that doctors have attributed to an inner ear virus. She battled her way back from 3-over in the first round to post a 5-under 67 and make the cut at 2-under. Wie sat down several times during the round, and said she planned to visit the doctor again later Friday.
“I definitely saw one golf ball today, that was good,” Wie joked after the round. “I definitely sat myself down every chance I could. My caddie helped me a lot out there, just getting all the numbers. I asked him to read all the putts for me, I just couldn’t see anything.”
Spain’s Beatriz Recari will also play the weekend despite a disappointing 72 on Friday after beginning the second round just one shot off the lead.
“Today, I felt like I was a lot above the hole, which made it a little bit more difficult to be aggressive on the putts. And then, also, I felt like I was a lot in between distances,” Recari told the Golf Channel. “I felt like I played really well, it’s just one of those days that happens. But overall, I felt like even par was the worst score that I could score today. I felt like my game was really good, and it gives me a lot of confidence for the weekend.”
–Field Level Media