Leona Maguire has her work cut out to get back into contention for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Maryland.
The World No.17 followed an opening 74 by making three birdies and three bogeys in a level- par 72 at a long and demanding Congressional Country Club to trail early halfway leaders Lydia Ko by seven strokes on two over .
While she hit every fairway and missed just three greens as she followed bogeys at the fifth, 10th and 13th with birdies at the eighth, 11th and 17th, she had 33 putts to go with her 32 putts on Thursday.
Two-time Major winner Ko (25) missed just one green more but had only 27 putts as she made five birdies in an outward 31, then followed a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the 16th in a five-under 67 that gave her a one-shot lead over Americans Jennifer Chang, Caroline Inglis and Sei Young Kim, with Lexi Thompson in a group just two shots back.
While In Gee Chun started from eight under after a stunning 64 gave her a five-shot lead overnight, Ko was pleased with her position.
“I think I’ve just got to keep focusing on what I need to work on, and I think sometimes when you watch other people play and people that are playing well, you go, ‘Okay, maybe I should do this, maybe I should do that’,” Ko said. “Try what somebody else is doing.
“I think when things are going well, everything looks good, but I think the important thing is for me to realise that most of the time I’m not going to have a perfect game.
“So I’m just trying to put the best score I can when I’m out there, and when I’m practicing, just making sure that I’m doing the right things and working with my team and being really aware of what needs to be done.”
Stephanie Meadow was among the afternoon starters, just six shots behind Ko after an opening 73.
Thompson holed her second shot for an eagle two at the 17th before finishing with a bogey for her 67 to share seventh with Xiyu Lin, Minjee Lee, Pornanong Phatlum and Hye Jin Choi.
“I just came into today with a positive attitude and the same going into the weekend. I’ll go out and play like I did today, just solid and committing to my shots in the process of my routine,” Thompson said.
On the Challenge Tour, Ruaidhri McGee followed his opening 62 with a 73 to fall three shots off the pace in the Blot Open de Bretagne.
The Londonderry man (31), who is playing just his second event since 2019 after taking time out of the game due to Covid, was three clear after the opening day. But while he got to 11 under for the tournament through 11 holes, he made five bogeys coming home to slip back to tied fourth on six under.
He’s three shots behind France’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who shot 67 to lead by one shot from Alfie Plant.
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy, who was four over through 10 holes in round one, continued his comeback by adding a five-under 65 to an opening 70 to share sixth on five under.
Li Haotong retained his lead at the BMW International Open after a weather-interrupted second day in Munich.
The Chinese, who tied the course record on Thursday with a 10-under-par 62, carded a second-round 67 to lead New Zealand’s Ryan Fox by one shot at the halfway stage.
Fox went round in 64 to close the gap on Li and boost his hopes of a third DP World Tour victory.
Dutchman Daan Huizing is two shots further back, with Jordan Smith and Thomas Pieters another stroke adrift.
Birdies and eagles were again prevalent on another day of low scoring in Bavaria.
Ryder Cup star Pieters climbed up the leaderboard by matching Fox’s 64, the pair sharing the lowest round of the day.
Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer also moved into contention, with his 66 leaving him in sixth spot and five shots off Li.
Play was suspended for around two hours because of the threat of lightning, but the round was completed as scheduled.
Scottish pair Robert McIntyre and Stephen Gallacher, England’s Andy Sullivan and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello were notable players to miss the cut.