Minjee Lee of Australia and Mina Harigae of the United States took the lead at the U.S. Women’s Open on Friday.
Lee turned in a 66 and Harigae a 69 to take the lead at -9, two strokes ahead of their closest pursuers.
Quebecer Maude-Aimée Leblanc and fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson will both enter the weekend rounds after narrowly resisting the cut, at +3. Henderson committed his three bogeys on the back nine. Sherbrooke’s Leblanc suffered a double bogey and two bogeys.
The Swedish Ingrid Lindblad had surprised the day before by achieving the best result (65) from an amateur in 77 years of history at this tournament. She remains not far from the lead at -6, tied for fifth with world number one Jin Young Ko, after playing 71.
A winner of two major tournaments, Ko scored an eagle with a 65-foot putt, also earning four birdies.
Lee is aiming for a second Major victory after that obtained at the Evian Championship last year.
” My putting was pretty solid today, and even when I was in tough situations, I was able to get up and down well,” said Lee, who won the LPGA Founders Cup last month, his 7th LPGA title and his first since his success at Evian.
“For sure it was a bit more stressful today, and I was a little shaken up, but I was really happy with the way I held on and made some good birdies at the ‘finish,’ said Harigae, a 32-year-old Californian chasing her first LPGA title and a first appearance in the top-10 of a Major.
Rookie Hye-Jin Choi posted the best score of the day, 64, moving up to second place with Anna Nordqvist (68), at 135.
“I have high expectations,” Choi said. I think the course here suits me very well. »
Choi scored no less than nine birdies, five more than the Swede.
Nordqvist aspires to win a fourth prestigious tournament.