Lorena Ochoa vaults in to the lead with a 65
Lorena Ochoa fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 on Friday to seize the lead after two rounds of the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock.
World number one Ochoa, seeking a third successive major title, began the day three strokes off the pace but was in top form as she birdied three holes on the front nine and four more after the turn for a 10-under-par total of 134.
One stroke back was Lindsey Wright. The 28-year-old Australian, who finished fourth at Bulle Rock last year, added a 68 to her opening 67 for 135.
Canadian Lorie Kane, who shared the first-round lead after a 66, was alone in third at eight under par after posting 70.
Ochoa, who claimed her first major in last year’s British Open at St Andrews and followed with victory at the Kraft Nabisco, put on a spectacular display of ball-striking on a course still soggy from rain this week.
The 26-year-old Mexican missed just one fairway and had good birdie chances on nearly every hole as players again were allowed to lift, clean and place balls on the fairway.
“It was a great day, just easy,” Ochoa told reporters. “I had 17 birdie chances. I enjoyed it a lot. It was stress-free.”
Five of Ochoa’s birdie putts were three feet or less and she capped the day with a 20-foot downhill putt at 18 that trickled into the cup for one last birdie.
“It was one of those days I could have shot 10 or 11 under par,” said Ochoa, a six-times winner in 2008. “I think that was my best round of the season.”
Wright said overtaking Ochoa was a tall order.
“She’s obviously the person to beat,” Wright said. “When you see her up there you know she’s not going to make too many mistakes. It keeps me focused. I have to make birdies.”
Three shots off the pace on seven-under-par 137 were Australian Rachel Hetherington (69), American Brittany Lang (67) and South Korean Oh Ji-young (68).
Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway shot a four-under 68 for 139.
World number two Annika Sorenstam, who opened with a 70, slipped to one under par after a bogey on her first nine and when she looked at a leaderboard saw Ochoa was 10 under par.
The 37-year-old Swede, who last month announced she would retire at the end of the year, charged in with three birdies on her homeward nine to complete a 68 and stand at six-under 138.
“We have a long way to go,” Sorenstam said. “This is a major. Anything can happen. After four days are over you add up your scores.”
Eighty-two players made the cut, set at even-par 144. Sixty-one players were under par in the favorable conditions.