REUNION, Fla.(AP) Lorena Ochoa’s drive sailed right and landed under a folding chair. All she had to do was mark the ball, then drop it a few feet away.
Somehow, someway, she skipped the most important step.
Ochoa forgot to mark her ball before picking it up. It cost her a one-stroke penalty and probably the outright lead in the Ginn Open.
“It was a rookie mistake,” Ochoa said.
She followed with a veteran move. The 25-year-old Mexican star didn’t let the error affect the rest of her round, birdieing seven of the final 12 holes to shoot a 6-under 66 in the second round and tie Laura Davies for the lead.
Davies, the 43-year-old English star who won the last of her 20 LPGA Tour titles in 2001, also had a second consecutive 66. They were at 12-under 132, three shots ahead of Natalie Gulbis (66) and five strokes ahead of defending champion Mi Hyun Kim (69).
Davies had three birdies and two eagles in her second round. She has three of the tournament’s eight eagles, but neither was a gimme Friday. She made a 16-foot putt on the par-5 17th and a 20-footer on No. 3.
Davies had been telling friends and family members, “I feel like something good is going to happen.” But her best finish in five events this year was a tie for 13th.
“They are probably getting fed up hearing it, ‘Oh, she’s making it up again,”’ Davies said. “I have been playing really well and making nothing. If you don’t make putts, you just don’t compete.”
Davis made four putts from at least 10 feet Friday.
Ochoa, meanwhile, sank a snaking 35-footer on No. 18 to cap her round. She ended birdie-birdie-birdie – a fantastic finish after a somewhat silly start.
The trouble came on the 518-yard, par-5 third. Her tee shot went way right and landed under a chair. Playing partner Brittany Lincicome told her she could mark the ball and then take a drop.
Ochoa decided to mark it, but then inadvertently forgot to do it before picking up the ball.
“To be honest, I’m very disappointed with myself,” Ochoa said. “I think I rushed a little bit. … I should know better. This is my fifth year on tour. But you learn, and I guess I need to take more time and try to talk through what I’m going to do with my caddie and just try to make sure I make the best decision out of something like that.”
Following the penalty, Ochoa’s third shot was back to the fairway. Her fourth came up short of the green. She then chipped to 25 feet and two-putted for a double-bogey 7.
She could have gotten flustered or harried. Instead, she regrouped with three consecutive pars before getting into a real groove the rest of the way.
“I really didn’t get angry or anything,” Ochoa said. “I just thought, ‘There’s a lot of holes left and you’re going to be fine.’ I’m glad the way I finished.”
Ochoa, a six-time winner on tour last year, will play in the final pairing Saturday with Davies. Ochoa is looking to take over the No. 1 spot in the women’s world golf rankings, trying to supplant injured star Annika Sorenstam.
Sorenstam withdrew from the tournament Thursday because of a ruptured disk and a bulging disk in her back. She traveled to Miami to see a neurosurgeon later in the day. She returned to her Reunion golf academy Friday and was wearing a neck brace, but there was no update on her condition.
Sorenstam wasn’t the only notable out of the tournament following Friday’s cut, which was at 2 over.
Morgan Pressel, who became the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history with her victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago, shot 75-72 and missed the cut.
Nancy Lopez, the 50-year-old Hall of Famer trying to make a comeback attempt, shot 83-80 and finished last in the 140-player field.
It was the first time in Lopez’s 34-year career that she failed to break 80 in either of the first two rounds on tour.
“I wanted to play better than I did, for sure,” Lopez said. “I’m disappointed with my numbers, but getting out here and playing is the only way you can come back.”