Brittany Lincicome leads LPGA Championship
PITTSFORD, New York (AP) — Brittany Lincicome opened a three-stroke lead Friday in the wind-swept LPGA Championship, the tour’s fourth major championship of the season.
The long-hitting Lincicome followed her opening 67 with a 68 to reach 9 under at Monroe Golf Club.
Lexi Thompson, tied for the first-round lead with Meena Lee, dropped into a tie for second with defending champion Inbee Park of South Korea. Thompson had a 72, and Park shot 66.
Seventeen-year-old Lydia Ko of New Zealand had a 69 to join Lee, from South Korea, and Jane Park at 5 under. Lee had a 73, and Park shot 69.
It has at Monroe Golf Club. The long-hitting Lincicome followed her opening 67 with a 68 to reach 9 under as she chases her first title since 2011. She won the 2009 Kraft Nabisco for her lone major title and has five LPGA Tour victories.
“I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of really good things,” Lincicome said. “I feel like I’ve been playing really well, driving it far, which is awesome. But it’s just not coming together.”
Lincicome and Thompson are well placed to give American players a clean sweep of all the women’s majors this year.
“It’s a great leaderboard so far,” said Thompson, who won the Kraft Nabisco to start the major run. “Today was a little more difficult than yesterday. Just didn’t hit it as well, but I did make some good putts, so I’m going to take a positive out of it.”
It’s the first time Americans have won the first three majors since 1999, and they haven’t won four since 1992. Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open, and Mo Martin surged to victory in the final round at the Women’s British Open. A fifth major, the Evian Championship in France, was added last year.
Lincicome, who started the day one shot off the lead, birdied the par-5 12th hole to gain a one-shot advantage while Inbee Park slowly clawed her way back into contention after shooting even par on the first day.
Park had two birdies and chipped in from a greenside bunker for an eagle on her first five holes on the back side, and three birdies in the first three holes on the front put her at 6 under.
“Quite different from yesterday,” said Park, who won three majors last year. “I thought I need to change things a little bit and get a little more aggressive, and that’s what I did.”
Ko, already a four-time winner on her LPGA Tour career, needed 31 putts to complete the round — six more than the first day — in part because of a three-putt bogey at No. 2 and then failing to get up-and-down at No. 4 in making another bogey.
“I just give myself as many opportunities as I can,” said the low-key Ko, who didn’t touch a club during a recent five-day stretch because her swing was “on holiday.”
Ko, a two-time winner this season, shrugged at the possibility of becoming the youngest winner of a major in LPGA Tour history.
“I think about winning at the end of the week,” Ko said. “I’m going to go out there and just have some fun. There’s still two more days. I’m pretty confident. It’s good to be in this position.”