Lydia Ko of New Zealand fired a 3-under 69 Friday to hold onto a narrow one-shot lead after two rounds at the Gainbridge LPGA in Orlando, Fla.
Ko, who calls the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club her home course, stands at 10-under 134 and one shot ahead of Nelly Korda (68).
Rounding out the top five are Ryann O-Toole (68) at 8-under, South Korea’s In Gee Chun (68) at 9-under, and South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai (67), Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit (69) and South Korea’s Chella Choi (69), tied at 5-under.
“No matter what happens over the weekend, I think it’s good to just keep putting myself in these positions,” Ko said. “I think you get more comfortable with it and the more times you’re there I think the higher chance that at the end it will all happen for you. So, I’m trying to not think about what may happen on Sunday.”
It has been nearly three years since the 23-year-old Ko won her 15th and most recent LPGA Tour title at the LPGA Mediheal Championship in April 2018.
Ko, who started on the back Friday, opened with a bogey on No. 10, but then strung together four birdies over her next seven holes.
“Yeah, I saw the pin positions last night, and I feel like the course was going to play a little longer, especially my front nine which is the back nine, because there was a lot of back pins,” Ko said.
“But, overall, I thought I played pretty solid. There was a stretch of a few holes where I couldn’t really hit any tee shot on the fairways, but I think it was pretty solid and I’m happy to have shot 3-under. I think it’s a lot of like positive things going into the weekend.”
Florida native Korda combatted three bogeys with three birdies on her opening nine, but went four under after the turn to salvage her round and sit solo in second place.
“Once I started to get more looks at birdie, I got a little more comfortable,” Korda said. “As I said, I just made a little too many mistakes on my front nine. And it was weird, I mean, I hit solid shots. They just went over the green. You kind of screw yourself a little.”
Annika Sorenstam, who shot 75 on Thursday in her first round on the LPGA Tour since the 2008 ADT Championship, got a few tips from her son Will following her round and rebounded Friday with a 71 and made the cut. Sorenstam finished tied for 67th at 2-over.
“So far, she was probably listening to everything that I did, because I was mostly saying how to hit it and where to hit it on the greens,” Sorenstam’s son told Golf Channel following his mom’s round.
“Once I got it rolling I had a lot of chances; just couldn’t make them on the front,” said Sorenstam, who made no birdies on Thursday but carded three on Friday. “So you put a lot of pressure on yourself knowing you’re not making any ground. On the contrary, then if I make a bogey, all of a sudden I’m losing a lot of ground. So I put a lot of pressure on myself.
“The goal was to be a little bit more aggressive. I was at times; not as much as I should have. Overall, I’m very pleased. A little chip-in there didn’t hurt, but, yeah, I look at it as a great round. I’m not going to analyze it too much.”
Defending champion Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden also stands T-67 after 77-69.