American Mina Harigae and England’s Georgia Hall will head into moving day of the AIG Women’s Open with a one-shot lead. Kiwi Lydia Ko shot three birdies in her second round back nine to survive the cut but she is still six shots behind.
Hall, the 2018 champion at Royal Lytham & St Annes, carded six birdies and recovered from a double-bogey at the 15th to take the English player to the top alongside American Mina Harigae.
From the third group of the day, Harigae also thrived and closed with four birdies in her last seven holes to sign for a superb five-under-par 67 and to join Hall on seven-under.
The Californian, 31, was runner-up in July’s Marathon LPGA Classic and is in form as she seeks a first main tour win and to improve on her best finish in the Championship, a tie for 28th in 2018.
With joint-overnight leader and world number one Nelly Korda slipping to a one-over-par 73 for a four-under-par total, it’s a congested leaderboard going into the weekend.
Another American player, Lizette Salas, reached six-under-par after back-to-back rounds of 69 and she shares third place with world number four Sei Young Kim, who added a 71 to her opening 67.
Seven players are well-placed at five-under-par, including Ireland’s Leona Maguire and the USA’s Lexi Thompson.
Ko is on 1-under after it looked like she may miss the cut early with a front nine of three bogeys and just one birdie, but she picked up shots on 11, 12 and 14 to finish the round with 1-under.
“I only gave myself a couple opportunities until 9, and then when you start putting yourself in better positions, it makes it a lot easier,” Ko said after her round. “I went in a decent amount of bunkers today, so I’m hoping to not do — not get Derek to do as much work having to rake so many.”
They say you have to be creative at @carnoustiegolf 😳
Lydia Ko: “If you say so.” pic.twitter.com/gOja116wZO
— LPGA (@LPGA) August 20, 2021
On one of the front nine bogeys on the 8th Ko had to get on her knees to escape a greenside bunker and reduce the damage to just one shot.
“Today obviously I had to hit off my knees on No. 9, and then on 14, I hit where half of my leg was up the wall and the other half was inside. I actually had multiple times where I was like, I could do with being left-handed for a few of these shots. The sand is pretty fluffy, so the ball settles down after it hits a bank or rolls in.
“It’s not easy, but for both of those times, I said, okay, don’t make a fool of yourself and like keep — all of your core exercises are right for this moment. Keep that core tight and at least don’t face-plant.”
Ko will tee off at 9.40pm NZT on Saturday night hoping to make a move and put herself in a good position for Sunday.
“There’s still so much golf. There’s still half the field still out there playing, so you just can’t count yourself out.
“I’m just going to stay to my same strategies and be in a few less bunkers, or none, and that would be fantastic, and just see.
“It’s been fun, and hopefully I can finish the weekend strong here at Carnoustie.”