Nasa Hataoka maintains lead at Marathon LPGA Classic with second-round 69

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Nasa Hataoka opened her week at the Marathon LPGA Classic with a blistering 61, and after posting a 2-under 69 on Friday, she takes a two-shot lead into the weekend at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

It was slow going in her second round. She bogeyed her opening hole, and when she later bogeyed the 13th, she found herself 2 over for the day. But she got things going with four straight birdies on Nos. 14, 15, 16 and 17 before closing with a par.

Hataoka is the winner of three events on the LPGA, most recently the 2019 Kia Classic. In June, Hataoka lost in a playoff to Yuka Saso at the Olympic Club in the U.S. Women’s Open.

Mina Harigae shot her second-straight 5-under 66 and moved to solo second at 10 under. Alison Lee and Elizabeth Szokol also shot 66s and were tied for third at 9 under. Esther Henseleit had the best score Friday with a 7-under 64 and was tied for fifth with Jennifer Kupcho, Gerina Piller, Chella Choi and Lauren Stephenson.

Among those who missed the cut were Sophia Popov. A year ago she used a pull cart and finished in a tie for ninth in this event as a member of the Symetra Tour. That got her into the AIG Women’s Open, which she won as the 304th-ranked player in the world.

Amateurs Rachel Heck and Kennedy Swann, who battled for the NCAA title in Arizona in May, also missed the cut.

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