Kemp and Jin Young Ko lead Founders as Meadow bows out

Ronan MacNamara

Stephanie Meadow (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Stephanie Meadow missed the cut by three shots on four-over-par after consecutive rounds of 74 as Sarah Kemp and Jin Young Ko share the lead at the Cognizant Founders Cup.

Kemp of Australia carded a second round of 65 to shoot up the leaderboard to eight-under-par and she was joined by Ko who has shot successive tours of 68.

They hold a one shot lead over Aditi Ashok, defending champion Minjee Lee and Have Ran Ryu.


Kemp got off to a sensational start with four birdies in five holes before adding a brace either side of the turn. Another birdie brace came on 14 and 15 before her only dropped shot of the day arrived on 16.

Ko meanwhile arrested a run of eight opening pars with three successive birdies and then a birdie on 18 to join her in the clubhouse and share the halfway lead.

“The three birdies was awesome. I just started hitting it good. I had a good warmup. Felt like it was going to be a pretty good day,” said Kemp, who is looking for the first victory of her 16-year LPGA Tour career. “Just hitting fairways and greens, and, yeah, just happened to go in really early on, so it was a nice trend to the day.”

World number three Ko is a two-time winner of this event and she is hunting a hat trick of Founders Cups.

“It was awesome. I had a great round today, also yesterday, too,” said Ko, already a winner in 2023 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. “I tried to make a bogey-free round, and I made it.”

India’s Ashok is back knocking on the winners door. The Magical Kenya Ladies Open champion lost in a playoff two weeks ago on the LPGA Tour and a win this weekend would see her become the first Indian to win an LPGA event.

“I just wanted to be near the top of the leaderboard or at the top in the early rounds of the tournament,” said Ashok, in her seventh year on the LPGA Tour. “I’ve been doing that. Hopefully I can have a good weekend and maybe capitalize on the good start.”

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