LOS ANGELES: South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon had seven birdies and no bogeys in a seven-under 65 on Friday (Saturday in Manila) to seize a two-shot lead in the LPGA Classic at Prattville, Alabama.
At nine-under par 135, Ryu led Australian Minjee Lee and Americans Ryann O’Toole and Morgan Pressel.
Lee had three birdies and a bogey in her two-under 70, while O’Toole carded a 67 and Pressel signed for a 68.
Ryu said putting made the difference in her round, which was five strokes better than her opening 70.
“Actually, even yesterday my shots were really great, but I couldn’t make a lot of putts, but today I pretty much made everything,” said the South Korean, who needed just 27 putts.
“It was a bit windy, but we played with a lot of wind the last few weeks, so it wasn’t a really big difference,” added Ryu, who captured the most recent of her three LPGA wins at the 204 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
“I’ve been working on my long game really hard and actually having a better ball trajectory since I’m working with my new coach,” Ryu said.
Ryu, currently ranked 10th in the world, picked up five of her birdies in her last nine holes, but said she didn’t get caught up with the leaderboard.
“I think what I was really good at today was I didn’t really think about the whole round,” she said. From O’Toole, Pressel and Lee it was a further stroke back to Germany’s Caroline Masson (68), American Annie Park (71) and Israel’s Laetitia Beck (73) on 138.
Beck admitted that she felt some nerves after holding the first-round lead. They didn’t show as she birdied her first two holes, but she faded with three bogeys in her next four holes.
“I knew it was going to be there,” Beck said of the butterflies. “So I just came into the day with the purpose of enjoying and learning from this experience and embracing the fact that I am going to be extremely nervous and try to learn from it.”