Stephanie Meadow will lead the Irish challenge into the weekend after a battling three-under 69 left her just a shot outside the top 10 in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in Maryland.
After opening with a 73, the Jordanstown star birdied the third, sixth, seventh and 11th at demanding Congressional Country Club near Washington DC.
She would drop a shot at the 15th but then covered the tough finishing stretch in level par to move up to tied 14th on two-under.
While overnight leader In Gee Chun was looked to build on her eight-under 64 in the opening round and stretch away from the field, Meadow was just three strokes behind Jennifer Kupcho (68), New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (67) and Australia’s Hannah Green (68).
They led by a shot in the clubhouse from Brooke M. Henderson, Jennifer Chang, Sei Young Kim and Caroline Inglis on five-under par.
Co Cavan’s Leona Maguire remained well in touch though the world number 17 followed an opening 74 by making three birdies and three bogeys in a level-par 72 at a long and demanding Congressional Country Club to trail early halfway leader Lydia Ko by seven strokes on two-over.
While she hit every fairway and missed just three greens as she followed bogeys at the fifth, 10th and 13th with birdies at the eighth, 11th and 17th, she had 33 putts to go with her 32 putts on Thursday.
Two-time Major winner Ko (25) missed just one green more but she had only 27 putts as she made five birdies in an outward 31, then followed a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the 16th in a five-under 67 that gave her a one-shot lead over Americans Jennifer Chang, Caroline Inglis and Sei Young Kim, with Lexi Thompson in a group just two shots back after a 67.
While In Gee Chun started from eight-under after a stunning 64 gave her a five-shot lead overnight, Ko was pleased with her position.
“I think I’ve just got to keep focusing on what I need to work on, and I think sometimes when you watch other people play and people that are playing well, you go, OK maybe I should do this, maybe I should do that,” Ko said. “Try what somebody else is doing.
“I think when things are going well, everything looks good, but I think the important thing is for me to realise that most of the time I’m not going to have a perfect game.
“So I’m just trying to put the best score I can when I’m out there, and when I’m practising, just making sure that I’m doing the right things and working with my team and being really aware of what really needs to be done.”
Thompson holed her second shot for an eagle two at the 17th before finishing with a bogey for her 67 to share seventh with Xiyu Lin, Minjee Lee, Pornanong Phatlum and Hye Jin Choi.
“I came into today with a positive attitude and same going into the weekend if I go out and play like I did today, just solid and committing to my shots in the process of my routine,” Thompson said.
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