(Reuters) - American Morgan Pressel is threatening to end South Korean born-golfers' domination of the early LPGA season after firing an eight-under-par 64 on Friday to tie for the second round lead of the Kia Classic in southern California.
Pressel, who tied the course record, joins South Korean Lee Mi-rim at 10-under-par.
South Korea-born players have won all six of the LPGA’s tournaments so far this year, but Pressel is looking to bring that run to an end and earn her first victory since 2008.
“It was kind of stress-free golf out there today,” Pressel told reporters. “I just played really, really solidly. I’m happy with the result.”
Teeing off in the morning, Pressel made four birdies on each nine without dropping a shot.
First-round leader Lee followed up her opening 65 with a3-under 69 at the Aviara course in Carlsbad.
Americans Cristie Kerr and Alison Lee are a shot behind with a group of four players two strokes back at 8-under.
World number one Lydia Ko is within reach at 7-underfollowing her 2-under-par 70.
Ko, who has already triumphed this year at the Women's Australian and New Zealand Opens, birdied the par-5 17th to inch closer to the lead.
Five-times major champion Yani Tseng plummeted down the leaderboard after her 4-over-par 76 left her on 2-under.
Tseng, who has not won an LPGA tournament since 2012, started the day just a stroke back after a 66 in round one.
Seven-times major champion Karrie Webb also fell off the pace following a three-over-par 75 that took her from two behind to eight strokes back.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford