Stacy Lewis maintained her three-shot lead with a 3-under round of 69 in the second round of the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday.
Lewis, who opened the tournament with a 63 the previous day, appeared poised to blister the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club again when she opened Friday's round with a birdie on the par-5 first hole. However, she filtered in a few rough holes and finished the round with five birdies and two bogeys.
"It's always hard to follow up a really good day," Lewis said. "I thought if I could shoot four or five under that would still be a really solid day. I almost got there but it was kind of up and down. I definitely left a few out there. I didn't hit it as good today but I made some putts on the back nine and still have a three-shot lead so I can't complain."
Ariya Jutanugarn, a 17-year-old rookie on the Ladies European Tour, is in second place at 9-under after shooting a 66 on Friday, posting the low score for the day. The Bangkok native is ranked No. 171 in the world and along with sister Moriya Jutanugam is playing on a sponsor's exemption this week.
"I think tomorrow is going to be even crazier being in the last group and she's kind of the rising star from here and I think she's going to be a great player," Lewis said of Ariya Jutanugarn. "She's played a lot of pro events so she knows what it's like. You have to watch out for her just like anybody else."
World No. 1 Yani Tseng, the two-time defending champ of the tournament, rebounded from an opening-round 75 with a 68 on Friday and enters the weekend in 25th place. Jiyai Shin, who rose to No. 6 in the world with her season-opening victory in Australia, is also tied for 25th after struggling to a second-round 73. Both are eight shots off Lewis' pace.
"I think I've gotten a lot more comfortable having the three-shot lead. In the past you get up and you kind of start protecting a little bit and you realize you still have to go out there and hit shots," said Lewis. "You can't be complacent with it. You just have to go out there and play and not worry about what anyone else is doing."
Lewis said the combination of the wind coming from a different direction and more difficult pin locations made it challenging to post a really low score Friday.
That didn't slow Jutanugarn, who said she only hit one shot she wasn't happy with.
"One can think that one can win. I hope that I can win, but I don't want to put pressure on myself," she said. "I just going to play my game. I believe if it going to be mind, it will be. I want all you guys to cheer me and other Thai players as well. Thank you."
American Jessica Korda kept herself in the hunt with a 67 in the second round, putting her in a tie for ninth place, five shots back of Lewis. Another shot back are Lexi Thompson and Gerina Piller. Piller stumbled to a 74 after a strong opening round of 67.
Michelle Wie also rebounded from an opening-round 74 to post a 71 on Friday and enters the weekend 10 shots off the pace in a tie for 39th. Paula Creamer missed the cut, with her second-round score of 71 not enough to make up for Thursday's 76.