Leona Maguire said she was proud of how she stuck to the game plan after returning a one-under par round of 69 on a difficult second day at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
With the wind ensuring a stern test at Aronimink Golf Club, the Cavan professional was practically immaculate from the tee, finding 13 of 14 fairways in a round that included three birdies and just two dropped shots.
At two-over par, the former world amateur number one shares 24th going into moving day with leader Sei Young Kim only six shots out in front at four-under.
Maguire has made a habit of improving as she goes along in tournaments of late and she’s now hoping that formula repeats itself as she goes in search of a big weekend in Pennsylvania.
“I played some really nice golf today,” Maguire reflected after also needing 31 putts to get home on Friday.
“The pins were tucked and the wind was swirling and gusting so I’m proud of how I committed to my targets and played smart.
“I holed some nice putts too and hoping to build on the momentum of today into the weekend.”
From an Irish perspective, Maguire will enter the weekend rounds alone after Stephanie Meadow was unlucky to miss out on the cut-mark by a single stroke.
Left with a mountain to climb after an opening 78, the Jordanstown professional produced a superb one-under par round of her own – and bogey-free – but with the cut falling at plus-six, she narrowly missed out by one.
Meanwhile, Sei Young Kim ignored the leaderboards dotted around Aronimink as she started to rally her way into contention.
“I was in a good momentum, so I just wanted to ride on that,” said the South Korean.
Kim birdied five of the final six holes as darkness fell Friday at Aronimink for a five-under 65 and the second-round lead in the year’s third Major.
“When we entered the front nine, the wind kind of slowed down and it was kind of easier to attack with my irons,” she said.
“The birdie on 14 was pretty good because it was a long birdie putt, and that’s when I started the four-birdie streak. So I think that really helped me with momentum and finishing strong.”
A 10-time LPGA Tour winner, Kim is looking for her first major victory. She was runner-up at the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and tied for second at the Evian Championship in 2018.
The last four winners of the tournament either led or co-led after 36 holes.
Jennifer Kupcho (65), Danielle Kang (69), Carlota Ciganda (69) and Anna Nordqvist (68) were all in close attendance just a shot further back at minus-three.
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