(Reuters) - South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon birdied five of her last eight holes to power into a two-shot lead after Friday’s second round of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama.
Seeking her fourth LPGA victory, the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 despite breezy conditions on the Senator Course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Ryu, who has recorded two top-10s in eight starts on the LPGA Tour this season without notching a win, covered her back nine in a sizzling five-under 31 to post a nine-under total of 135.
”Even yesterday my shots were really great, but I couldn’t make a lot of putts,“ Ryu, 25, told reporters. ”But today I pretty much made everything.
“It was a bit windy, but we played with a lot of wind the last few weeks, so it wasn’t really like, you know, really big difference.”
Australian teen Minjee Lee (70) and Americans Morgan Pressel (68) and Ryan O‘Toole (67) were at seven under, with Germany’s Caroline Masson (68), American rookie Annie Park (71) and first-round leader Laetitia Beck of Israel (73) a further stroke back.
Seven players were bunched at five under, including 2012 champion and world number four Stacy Lewis, who birdied her last two holes for a 68 in pursuit of her first win this season.
“The conditions have been really hard these last few weeks that we have played in, but I have played some good golf so I know it’s getting close,” Lewis, an 11-times winner on the LPGA Tour, told Golf Channel.
Lewis has always loved competing at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail where she has recorded four top-six finishes, including her victory in 2012.
“Just knowing the lines off the tees with the various winds,” she said of her comfort factor at the venue.
”And then make some putts on the greens, which I’ve done quite a bit of over the last couple of years.
“It’s nice to see them (putts) going in and it’s nice to see shots working out the way you saw it in your head, and pulling shots off like that gives you confidence.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine