South Korea’s Ryu grabs share of halfway stage lead at LPGA Championship

Ryu So-yeon of South Korea watches her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the 2018 KPMG PGA Championship, at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kiledeer, Illinois, on June 29
AFP

Kildeer (United States) (AFP) – Ryu So-yeon fired her second straight three-under 69 at the Women’s PGA Championship on Friday to grab a share of the halfway stage lead with Brooke Henderson and Park Sung-hyun.

The two-time major champion from South Korea posted one of the few sub-par rounds in the morning at the Kemper Lakes course. 

“I really enjoyed every moment with my little golf ball out there,” said Ryu, who is in her 11th season as a pro.

Ryu’s 69s give her a six-under 138 total atop the leaderboard with former Women’s PGA Championship winner Henderson, who had a 71, and Park, who posted a 72. 

Temperatures at the Kemper Lakes course climbed to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius) for the golfers who teed off in the afternoon. 

Ryu is playing with plenty of confidence after collecting her first win of 2018 at the Meijer Classic two weeks ago.

“It’s better to think about winning the tournament, better to keep telling yourself how confident you are,” Ryu said. “I think after I won the Meijer Classic, that’s the attitude I have to have for this year.”

Canada’s Henderson had her patience tested on Friday but managed to stay in the hunt. The 2016 tournament winner finished with four bogeys and five birdies in her round.

“It was kind of up-and-down all day,” said Henderson. “I would have liked to have shot a little bit better today, but one-under when it was so hot and so windy, I’ll take it.”

Park had the solo lead heading into round two but stumbled a little on Friday.

She hit just eight fairways and recorded 29 putts to finish the day at even par 72 after a sizzling 66 on Thursday.

Former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Lydia Ko recorded the low round of the day with a six-under 66. Her round included eight birdies and two bogeys as she vaulted 81 spots up the leaderboard. She now sits just two-strokes back of the lead at four-under par heading into the weekend. 

“I tried to make as many birdies as I can, and I know it’s difficult out there with the wind being a little bit more up than yesterday,” Ko said. “My goal was to try to make the cut, so I think mission accomplished.”

Ko is tied for fifth with Annie Park and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

The cut line fell at three-over par, sending home several major champions including Chun In-gee, Morgan Pressel and Anna Nordqvist.

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