Eighteen-hole leader Xiyu Lin couldn’t believe the round her playing partner Jeongeun Lee6 put together on Friday at the Kroger Queen Championship presented by P&G. Lee6 fired a bogey-free, 9-under 63, highlighted by four consecutive birdies she carded from holes 7-10, and tied her second-lowest career round on the LPGA Tour, which she last shot at the 2021 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She holds the 36-hole lead for just the third time in her career – Lee6 last did so at the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship – and her two-day total of 131 is now her second-best on the LPGA Tour, just four behind her record of 127 that also came at last year’s Amundi Evian.
“It was good bogey-free round, and it's been a while I played bogey-free so I'm really satisfied with my game today,” said the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica winner. “Two more rounds, so I'm going to focus on my swing. I'm not comfortable with my swing, but it's getting better. And then last tournament in the final round my shots were good so I gained confidence last week and I can play comfortable this week.”
Lee6 has had three top-10 finishes earlier this season that all came in three consecutive starts – a tie for ninth at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony, a tie for fourth at the HSBC Women's World Championship and a tie for eighth at the Honda LPGA Thailand – but hasn’t found herself in the top 10 since March. But as she looks ahead to the weekend, Lee6 is committed to sticking to the process, focusing specifically on her downswing. “I'm going to focus on downswing, same as today,” she said. “And then just I want to focus on my process, not result. That's very important for me.”
Playing with Lee6, 18-hole leader Lin backed up her opening 64 with a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to sit one back of the lead at -12. She hit 13 of 14 fairways for the second straight day along with 15 of 18 greens, and her two-day total of 132 is now her second-lowest on the LPGA Tour. Lin has had two top-five finishes and one additional top 10 throughout the 2022 season, and with another weekend in contention on tap, she’s looking to just keep firing low numbers, especially with the scorable conditions that many players are taking advantage of.
“The golf tournament doesn't finish in one day so I told myself I have to keep going today,” said Lin. “This course, everybody has a chance and it is what it is. Perfect example today, Lee6, she just had a fabulous day and shot 9-under. There is challenging holes, but also there is lots of opportunity out there. You just have to look forward and keep going.”
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Ally Ewing sits in solo third after firing an 8-under 64 in round two. Ewing turned in 34 and then stepped on the gas pedal on her back nine, the front nine at the Kendale Course, making six consecutive birdies from No. 2-7, a streak that propelled her up the leaderboard and into the mix ahead of the weekend.
“On hole 2 I hit a wedge shot fat and then I chipped in for birdie. It was going from needing to get a ball up and down for par to an unlikely birdie. Then I executed some really good shots coming in. I hit some close, made a couple of putts around 20 feet that kind of kept the string going,” said Ewing. “It was just one of those where they just kept coming and it's kind of the patience game. I'm excited to see a low score. I don't think I've had one of those in a hot minute, so good to see.”
Mexico’s Maria Fassi and Australia’s Sarah Kemp sit in a tie for fourth at -10 with a logjam of players rounding out the top 10 in a tie for sixth at -9, including last week’s runner-up Megan Khang, 2020 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica winner A Lim Kim and six-time LPGA Tour winner Nasa Hataoka. A total of 76 players made the cut at -1, most notably Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion Anna Davis (a) who shot a Friday 66, her lowest round ever on the LPGA, and #LPGAMoms Azahara Munoz and Paula Creamer, who are both making just their second start back since giving birth.