PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — After seeing her lead disappear in the morning session, Yani Tseng fought her way back into a place where she’s been plenty comfortable this year.
The top-ranked Tseng overcame a double bogey on her ninth hole to shoot a 2-under 70 on Friday for a one-stroke lead over Pat Hurst after the second round of the LPGA Championship, the tour’s second major of the year.
Hurst had a 67. Morgan Pressel, Minea Blomqvist, and Hee Young Park were 6 under after 69s.
Battling a torrential downpour then a steady drizzle for nearly half her first nine holes, Tseng followed her first-round-best 66 with a gritty performance that put her at 8 under overall. She won the LPGA State Farm Classic two weeks ago for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year, and could become the first player since Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to follow a regular tournament victory with a win in a major.
“I feel a little bit disappointed in my round, but I hung in there,” Tseng said. “I missed some short putts, and that’s very disappointing. But I still have the lead, and I’m still very excited.”
Hurst played in the morning before the heavy rain hit Locust Hill Country Club, and took a one-stroke lead before Tseng teed off on the back nine in the early afternoon.
Tseng shook off the inclement weather by reeling off three straight birdies to open a two-stoke edge over Hurst, but Tseng’s game suddenly soured at the par-4 18th after her drive went into the left rough and under a tree, forcing her to punch out.
A nifty approach shot that stopped about 3 feet from the hole left her with a chance to salvage a bogey, but her putt rimmed out, and left her looking at the hole in disbelief.
She promptly regained her focus and grabbed the lead with a birdie at No. 1.
“I told myself, ‘I have to make birdie,'” she said. “I looked up to the sky, kept my head up, and was thinking positive.”
Tseng fell back into a tie with Hurst and eventually Pressel after bogeying her 14th hole, but at No. 8 she made the last of her five birdies on the day to head into the weekend with a slim lead.
Unlike Tseng, Hurst gave plenty of credit to her play on the green. She made two long putts on the day, including a 40-footer on her 17th hole (No. 8) that gave her a brief two-stroke edge over Tseng.
“I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball really well…the bottom line is not making any putts,” said Hurst, who hasn’t won a tournament since 2009. “I’m just thinking about playing some good golf and making some putts.”
Hurst also holed a chip shot from the light fringe on No. 15 after her approach shot went over the green.
“I would really be excited if it was Sunday,” she joked. “I’ve gained a little bit of confidence out there and feeling good.”
Pressel moved into a brief second-place tie with Hurst after she birdied the Par 5, 17th hole, but then bogeyed 18 to send her back into third.
“I felt good out there and made a lot of good swings,” she said. “I feel like I can keep the ball in play.”
Defending champion Cristie Kerr shot her second straight 72 to make the cut. Michelle Wie also opened with consecutive 72s.