Golf: Lydia Ko thanks putter for keeping her in hunt for third straight major

Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty
Lydia Ko. Photo / Getty

Through rain squalls and wind gusts, Brooke Henderson and Mirim Lee maintained their composure and patience even as the weather deteriorated.

Henderson and Lee withstood the wild conditions today to share the lead at 2-under halfway through the KMPG Women's PGA Championship, the second major of the year on the LPGA Tour.

But sitting only one shot back is world No 1 Lydia Ko, who who scrambled to a 70 in her bid to win three straight majors. Ko was in a group with Gerina Piller (69) and Brittany Lincicome (70), with only five players under par after two rounds.

"It was really tough out there," Ko said. "I don't know how many putts I had on the back nine, but the putter definitely saved me."

She will have discovered she had 28 putts, an improvement on her 32 from her opening-round 71. Ko mixed two birdies with two bogeys on an eventful front nine and added a birdie on the par-3 17th to narrow the gap with the leaders.

Playing in the afternoon, Henderson and Lee fought through a mixture of heavy rain, wind and a significant drop in temperature at the Sahalee Country Club. After six-straight pars, Henderson birdied the par-3 17th but the 18-year-old Canadian bogeyed the 18th for a 2-over 73 that dropped her back into a tie with Lee.

"Definitely growing up, springtime, fall-time weather was very similar to this," said Henderson, ranked fourth in the world. "Definitely it gives me a little bit of advantage. But I like to think I'm a good player in all conditions. Maybe it runs in my favor a little bit."

The real winner the first two days was Sahalee. Cut between the towering pine and cedar trees, the course was unrelenting in its difficulty. Only two holes played under par today - the par-4 third and the par-5 11th. For the first two days there have been only 22 rounds under par and seven in the 60s. The course is playing nearly 4-and-a-half shots over par.

"It has some teeth," Piller said. "I think we had every element out here."

Lexi Thompson tried to get back into contention with three birdies in four holes to finish the front nine, but gave it all away with three-straight bogeys to start the back nine. She finished at 7-over along with Stacy Lewis (76), both barely making the cut and staying around for the weekend.

Heading home is three-time defending champion Inbee Park. A day after wrapping up an LPGA Hall of Fame spot, the South Korean shot a 79 today to drop to 9-over.

"On the back nine I just couldn't get a rhythm with the swing and I missed a lot of shots to the right, what I have been doing in the last month or so," Park said.

Park has been dealing with inflammation in the tendons and ligaments around her left thumb. She shot a 72 on Friday, the round she needed to complete the 10-year requirement for the LPGA Hall of Fame. At 27, she became the youngest player to accomplish the feat.

Park said she will reconsider taking an extended break to let the thumb heal, one that could bring the Olympics into question.

-AP

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 Sep 2016 01:45:08 Processing Time: 526ms