Brittany Lincicome opens three-shot LPGA lead

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 16, 2014, 09:00 AM IST

Brittany Lincicome fired a four-under-par 68 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA Championship, the fourth major of the LPGA season.

The American, whose resume includes a major title at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, had a 36-hole total of nine-under-par 135.

She was in great shape to make a weekend run at a fifth tour title, and her first since the 2011 Canadian Women`s Open.

American Lexi Thompson, the reigning Kraft Nabisco champion who shared the first-round lead with South Korea`s Meena Lee, carded an even-par 72 and shared second place on 138 with defending champion and former world number one Park In-Bee.

South Korea`s Park climbed up the leaderboard with a six-under 66.

New Zealand teen Lydia Ko, who could seize the world number one ranking from Stacy Lewis with a first major win this week, carded a 69 to head a group tied on 139.

She was joined by overnight co-leader Lee, who signed for a 73, and American Jane Park, who posted a 69 at Monroe Golf Club.

Lincicome had three birdies, one bogey and an eagle on the 14th hole.

"It`s been incredible," Lincicome said of her first two rounds. "I haven`t been here in a while so it`s pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par, especially at a major.

"I feel like all year I`ve been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don`t seem to all come together on the same day.

"So it was nice to play the last two days and just kind of feel like I was out there doing my thing and there was not too much stress involved."

Half a dozen players were tied on 140. They included 2007 champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who shot 69, and 2012 winner Feng Shanshan of China, who signed for a 72.

They were joined by South Korea`s Lee Mi-Rim (71), Paraguay`s Julieta Granada (65), Spain`s Beatriz Recari (70) and American Jennifer Johnson (70).

Lincicome said she`ll try not to worry about who is chasing her.

"I am still going to try to birdie as many holes as I possibly can," she said. "Especially In-Bee, she can shoot 61 like it`s nothing.

"So it doesn`t matter how big a lead you have with her behind you and Lexi or Lydia even. You just need to keep your same game plan that I`ve had and try to take advantage of the par fives and just see if we can stay ahead of all of them."Thompson, a long-hitter like Lincicome, said she`d be aggressive in her pursuit.

"I have nothing to lose," she said.

Park In-Bee, whose last two finishes were a fourth place at the Women`s British Open and a playoff loss last week in Michigan, thinks she could be on the brink of a breakthrough.

"I just came so close the last two weeks," she said. "I feel like something is around the corner. Hopefully, I can do it this week in a major. That would be great."