Stephanie Meadow knows she will have to go low over 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.
She was nine shots behind runaway leader In Gee Chun of Korea, who followed her eight-under 64 with a 69 to lead by six shots on 11-under from Jennifer Kupcho (68) and New Zealand's Lydia Ko (67) with Jennifer Chang (70), Australia's Hannah Green (68), Brooke Henderson (69), Sei Young Kim (69) and Caroline Inglis (68) seven behind on four-under.
"I played pretty solid," Meadow said. "I had a tough finish yesterday, but I played really solid today.
"The course, I think it suits a little bit of a longer hitter, and I am, so I think it's a little bit of an advantage. It's starting to firm up, so I'm sure it will get firmer as the weekend goes on as well.
"I definitely could be a little more aggressive today. I mean, I had shorter clubs in. Yesterday we played the first seven, eight holes in kind of drizzly rain. That makes it harder and further anyway.
"Not a whole lot changed. I just made some more putts and just didn't really make any mistakes."
Co Cavan's Leona Maguire remains well in touch though the world number 17 has work to do to get back into contention after she followed an opening 74 by making three birdies and three bogeys in a level par 72.
The Ballyconnell battler, who was denied her second win when she missed a short putt in a playoff for the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday, was tied 49th in the clubhouse on two-over
While she hit every fairway and missed just three greens in regulation 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.
"Hitting fairways are still key," Meadow said. "It's just a great golf course. You have to hit good golf shots. I think that's how major golf should be played, so I embrace that, and I much prefer that than just round and birdie shoot-out."
With the leader six clear, Meadow knows the chasing pack will have to shoot well into the red to catch her.
"You've got to go low," she said. "We'll see if the conditions stay like they are now, you know, with the greens probably won't get super, super bouncy, so the birdies will be out there, and it's up to somebody to catch her.
"She's a great player, so I wouldn't be expecting her to come anywhere backwards, so everybody has to go chase. I think everybody knows that."
As for leader In Gee Chun, a two-time major winner, she didn't sound like a woman with plans to go on the defensive.
"After I had a great round yesterday, I felt it was just golf game, but today was not normal golf game," the 2015 US Women's Open and 2016 Evian Championship winner said.
She added: "I just want to keep going what I did last two days. I already say I feel like after I had a great first round, it's now a game that's going more me versus me.
"I keep trying to make good focus, and I just want to keep trying what I did last two days. I think that's the key to make win this week. Just go with the flow, do what I can do.”