Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow will hope to make a moving day ascent up the leaderboard after both players made the halfway cut at the LPGA Tour’s ShopRite Classic in New Jersey.
It was Cavan professional Maguire who fared best of the pair on Friday after firing a two-under par round of 69 to climb to a tie for 45th at the close of play on day two.
Maguire posted five birdies in an improved putting performance after needing just 27 swipes of the flat-stick and trails the leader Nasa Hataoka by nine strokes ahead of round three.
Meanwhile, Jordanstown professional Meadow needed every shot to ensure she made the cut on the number at even par.
Meadow carded three birdies, two bogeys and a double in a one-over par round of 72 and shares 65th with two rounds to go at the Bay Course at Seaview.
Three-time LPGA Tour champion Nasa Hataoka posted her second lowest 36-hole score of 131 to catapult to the lead by one stroke at 11-under par.
“I wasn’t striking the ball as well as yesterday, but I was able to convert birdie chances where I wanted to and that was good,” said Hataoka. “Today wasn’t about making long putts; it was more converting the small chances I had.”
The 21-year-old is looking to become the second Japanese player to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic, joining 2010 champion Ai Miyazato. She is 10-under par overall at the halfway point in Galloway, N.J.
“I looked up to her,” Hataoka said. “She was a player, I felt like, that played mostly in the U.S. instead of Japan. She obviously won here, and I feel like maybe this will be a chance for another Japanese player to win this tournament.”
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