Birthday girl Ryu posts second 69 to share lead

KILDEER (Illinois) • A second straight three-under 69 was perhaps an unexpected icing on the cake for Ryu So-yeon.

The South Korean, who celebrated her 28th birthday on Friday, admitted her score that lifted her into a three-way tie for the halfway lead at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship was more than she deserved.

It was contrasting emotions for Ryu, who a day after feeling that an opening-round 69 did not reflect how well she had played, said that she was just grateful to have carded an identical score on the second day of the year's third Major.

"Golf is definitely a funny game because yesterday I thought I hit it just really, really perfect, like I just couldn't ask more, and I shot three under," she told reporters.

"And then compared to yesterday, I felt like I absolutely hit it everywhere out there but still shot three under. That was really good learning (experience)."

The former world No. 1, back in form after a spell in the doldrums, joined compatriot Park Sung-hyun (72) and Canadian Brooke Henderson (71) at six-under 138 at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois.

They headed Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (69) by one stroke, while New Zealander Lydia Ko matched the best score of the week (66) to vault to within two shots.

Defending champion Danielle Kang (69) had moved to within two shots of the lead before a pair of bogeys on her final three holes left her four back.

Ryu ended a nearly year-long victory drought when she won the Meijer Classic two weeks ago, a result she achieved after a change in attitude.

"It's better to think about winning the tournament, better to keep telling yourself how confident you are," she said.

"I think after I won the Meijer Classic, that's the attitude I have to have for this year."

Ryu, who in Cameron McCormick uses the same coach as Jordan Spieth, added that she had picked up some extra length recently.

It certainly came in handy on a course that is still drying out after being drenched earlier in the week.

She finished with three birdies in the final five holes to catch Park, who faltered with a bogey at her 16th hole, the par-five seventh.

Henderson, in the hunt for her second victory in the event, banged in a 15-foot birdie at the last to earn a share of the lead.

"Up and down all day," she said of a round that included five birdies and four bogeys.

The cut line fell at three over, sending home several Major champions including Chun In-gee, Morgan Pressel and Anna Nordqvist.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Birthday girl Ryu posts second 69 to share lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe