Danielle Kang won back-to-back majors as an amateur yet she’s never cracked the winner’s circle in her half-dozen years as a pro. The 24-year-old Californian took a big step in the right direction, grabbing a share of the second-round lead Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Her biggest hurdle could well be co-leader Sei Young Kim, the LPGA Tour’s 2015 rookie of the year and already a six-time winner on tour. Kang and Kim each shot five-under-par 66 to reach seven-under 135
First-round leader Amy Yang (71), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (66), Mi Hyang Lee (67), Chella Choi (70) and Amy Yang (71) were another stroke back.
So Yeon Ryu (68), who climbed to No. 1 in the world ranking after a victory last week and won the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season, was in the clubhouse at five under along with Moriya Jutanugarn (68) and Sarah Jane Smith (67). Lydia Ko shot 68 to put herself back in contention at four under.
Kang, the U.S. Women’s Amateur champion in 2010-11, conceded she didn’t have a game plan after her last practice round at Olympia Fields Country Club, one of several venues that previously hosted men’s majors now being tested by the women.
“I kind of was super-overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do,” she said. “So I called my brother, Alex, of course.”
Alex Kang, who plies his trade on the Web.com Tour, was familiar with Olympia Fields and its bunkers, and he gave her some simple advice.
“He goes, `Just blast it down,“’ she recalled. The plan worked as Kang, relying on her driver, hit 11 of 14 fairways and hasn’t made a bogey through 36 holes.
Kim carved her path up the leaderboard with a closing flourish, making three birdies in her last five holes. They came on the tougher front-nine side, though players caught a break as the swirling wind that made club selection dicey Thursday subsided in round two.
“Fortunately, when I tee off a little less windy,” Kim said, “so I was able to attack the pin.”
The KPMG kicks off a stretch of three majors in six weeks and Ryu could cement her new No. 1 status by adding a second major to the one she claimed in May by beating Lexi Thompson in a playoff at the ANA Inspiration.
Lingmerth retains lead at Quicken Loans National
David Lingmerth knows he won’t have to shoot 20-under par for the week to win at tricky TPC Potomac. After two near-flawless rounds in the Quicken Loans National, he is halfway there.
The 29-year-old Swede shot his second straight five-under 65 to extend his lead to two shots over Geoff Ogilvy. Ogilvy played in the first group off the 10th tee and also shot 65.
Lingmerth won a Web.com Tour event on the punishing Washington-area layout in 2012. On Friday, he used his reliable fade off the tee to avoid trouble and set up birdie opportunities. He’s gone 34 straight holes without a bogey and he finished his round with a birdie from 7 feet.
Daniel Summerhays shot 68 and was alone in third, four shots back.
Perry surges into share of lead at U.S. Senior Open
Kenny Perry shot a six-under 64 for a share of the U.S. Senior Open lead with Kirk Triplett at a record 11 under through two rounds at Salem Country Club.
Triplett followed his opening 62 with a 67 in the morning, and then Perry came from three strokes back to tie him. Perry missed a 25-footer for birdie on No. 18 just moments before the horn sounded to clear the course in Peabody, Mass., because of an approaching storm.
The 36-hole total of 129 was one stroke better than the record set by Michael Allen in 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Doug Garwood (67) was two strokes back at 9 under, and Bernhard Langer (65) and Scott Verplank (66) were 8 under. Langer won the first two majors on the PGA Champions Tour this year.
Eight threesomes failed to finish the second round before play was suspended.
Otaegui, Uihlein atop leaderboard at French Open
Spaniard Adrian Otaegui and Peter Uihlein of the United States shared the lead at 8-under after rain disrupted play in the second round of the French Open.
Otaegui shot a five-under 66 after rolling in six birdies on the Golf National course in Guyancourt that will stage the Ryder Cup next year. After storms halted play for more than two hours late in the afternoon, Uihlein joined him at the top of the leaderboard with a 67 — matching his score from the first round.
Otaegui bogeyed the second hole but made up for it with birdies on the sixth, ninth and tenth. He then sealed a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th hole with a 40-foot putt on the 16th.
“I made a bogey on the second and missed a five iron just on the right and couldn’t make the up-and-down,” Otaegui said. “And after that I played great from the tee and made good swings with the driver and the three wood.”
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork took a share of third place, one shot behind the co-leaders, and a shot clear of Englishmen Nathan Kimsey and Paul Waring in a tie for fifth heading into Saturday’s third round.