PHOENIX: Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and American Stacy Lewis shot identical scores for the second straight day to sit atop a crowded leaderboard at the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup with Michelle Wie lurking close behind.
Ariya and Lewis fired five-under 67s Friday following 64s in the opening round to reach 13-under par heading into the weekend at the Desert Ridge course.
The duo leads Lee Jeong-Eun, Hur Mi-Jung, Wie and Vicky Hurst by one stroke and has a group, including Park In-Bee, Jessica Korda and first round co-leader Chun In-Gee within three shots of the lead. Ariya, Lewis and Chun were among five tied for the first round lead.
“It’s pretty hard because I feel like every hole, everybody has a chance to make birdie,” said Ariya, the reigning Women’s British Open champion.
“I’m not really worried about who is going to be in the leaderboard. I just really focus on like what is under my control. So tomorrow it is just go have fun.”
Ariya began her round on the back nine and it didn’t take long for the birdies to start falling. She had four birdies in six holes beginning at the par-four No. 13.
Lewis’ bogey-free round also has her sitting in a good position heading into the weekend. She is seeking her first win since 2014.
“I played really solid; today was another good day,” said Lewis. “Didn’t have the distance control with my wedges quite dialed in the way I would’ve liked, but still made a bunch of birdies and shot a good round.
“It’s always hard to follow up a round like yesterday. So happy with the day again.”
Wie is one stroke back of Ariya and Lewis as the American started her day on the front nine and had a hot putter. She posted six birdies before dropping a shot with a bogey on the par four, 13th to card a five-under 67.
“The front nine went very well. Every time I had a birdie opportunity I took advantage of it,” said Wie. “That’s kind of what you need to do on this golf course. You have to shoot low numbers out there. You just have to keep making birdies to stay afloat.”
The cut line of five under par was the lowest in LPGA history.
Katie Burnett, who also was tied for the lead after the first round, shot 70 and is among those three shots back at 134.