Lincicome opens three-shot LPGA Championship lead


Pittsford (United States) (AFP) - Brittany Lincicome fired a four-under-par 68 to take a three-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA Championship, the fourth major of the LPGA season.

The American, whose resume includes a major title at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, on Friday had a 36-hole total of nine-under-par 135.

She was in great shape to make a weekend run at a fifth tour title, and her first since the 2011 Canadian Women's Open.

American Lexi Thompson, the reigning Kraft Nabisco champion who shared the first-round lead with South Korea's Meena Lee, carded an even-par 72 and shared second place on 138 with defending champion and former world number one Park In-Bee.

South Korea's Park climbed up the leaderboard with a six-under 66.

New Zealand teen Lydia Ko, who could seize the world number one ranking from Stacy Lewis with a first major win this week, carded a 69 to head a group tied on 139.

She was joined by overnight co-leader Lee, who signed for a 73, and American Jane Park, who posted a 69 at Monroe Golf Club.

Lincicome had three birdies, one bogey and an eagle on the 14th hole.

"It’s been incredible," Lincicome said of her first two rounds. "I haven't been here in a while so it’s pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par, especially at a major.

"I feel like all year I've been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don’t seem to all come together on the same day.

"So it was nice to play the last two days and just kind of feel like I was out there doing my thing and there was not too much stress involved."

Half a dozen players were tied on 140. They included 2007 champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who shot 69, and 2012 winner Feng Shanshan of China, who signed for a 72.

They were joined by South Korea's Lee Mi-Rim (71), Paraguay's Julieta Granada (65), Spain's Beatriz Recari (70) and American Jennifer Johnson (70).

Lincicome said she'll try not to worry about who is chasing her.

"I am still going to try to birdie as many holes as I possibly can," she said. "Especially In-Bee, she can shoot 61 like it's nothing.

"So it doesn't matter how big a lead you have with her behind you and Lexi or Lydia even. You just need to keep your same game plan that I've had and try to take advantage of the par fives and just see if we can stay ahead of all of them."

- Park poised to charge -

Thompson, a long-hitter like Lincicome, said she'd be aggressive in her pursuit.

"I have nothing to lose," she said.

Park In-Bee, whose last two finishes were a fourth place at the Women's British Open and a playoff loss last week in Michigan, thinks she could be on the brink of a breakthrough.

"I just came so close the last two weeks," she said. "I feel like something is around the corner. Hopefully, I can do it this week in a major. That would be great."

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