Rochester: American Cristie Kerr birdied four of her last five holes to grab a commanding five-shot lead midway through the second round of the LPGA Championship on Friday.
Kerr, who started the day with a share of the tournament lead, fired a bogey-free six-under-par 66 to stand 10-under-par with a 134 total at the women’s second major championship of the year.
She had some trouble finding the fairways on the narrow, tree-lined Locust Hill Country Club course but managed to scramble her way out of trouble.
“I hit very good recovery shots today,” Kerr, who hit just four fairways on the back nine, told reporters outside the scoring tent. “When I was in the rough I got on the green and two-putted for par.”
Japan’s Mika Miyazato held second place in the clubhouse on five-under-par 139 after registering a 70, while Park In-bee of South Korea was four-under for the tournament through 13 holes on Friday.
American Brittany Lincicome (69) and Amy Yang of South Korea (67) were in the clubhouse on four-under 140.
Kerr, number five in the world and the highest ranked American, sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the first hole and parred the next eight holes despite failing to hit another fairway on the front nine.
The 32-year-old Kerr caught fire on the back nine, starting with a four-foot birdie at the 10th and following with birdies on 14 and 15 before closing with two more.
At the 17th she rolled in a 25-footer and at 18 she tapped in from one foot away after thrusting her arms skyward to acknowledge cheers from the gallery.
“Birdying four of the last five holes was pretty unbelievable,” said Kerr, who took advantage of gentle morning conditions to set a daunting target. “I don’t think anyone expected anybody to get to double digits under par today.”
Kerr started the day in a three-way tie for the lead with late starters Lee Seon-hwa of South Korea and American Stacy Lewis. Lee and Lewis were both three over par through 13.