RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Hinako Shibuno shot a 6-under 66 on Friday in the Chevron Championship to take the lead halfway through the second round.
The 23-year-old Japanese player had a total of 9 under 135 at Mission Hills, the tree-lined course hosting the major championship for the last time.
Unable to find a sponsor to stay in Mission Hills, the tournament is moving to Houston next year under a deal with Chevron. The event began in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and became a major event in 1983.
Shibuno had seven birdies and a bogey over the first 13 holes and closed with five pars in warm, sunny morning conditions. She opened with a birdie tap-in on the par-4 first and had another on the par-4 10th.
“It makes it easier to play golf,” Shibuno said through a translator.
She sticks to the routine that has worked so far.
“I’m going to do the same,” Shibuno said, “I’m going to eat and I’m going to sleep.”
Jennifer Kupcho and Minjee Lee, tied for the first-round lead at 66, were in the afternoon group.
Defending champion Patty Tavatanakit (69) and Annie Park (67) were a blow back.
“I feel like I left a lot of stuff there,” Tavatanakit said. “But at the same time, it’s just golf. It is impossible for you to have a perfect day without mistakes. ”
Tavatanakit closed with birdies on the par-3 on the 17th and the par-5 on the 18th.
“I think 17 was definitely a bonus with that pin position,” Tavatanakit said. “I think that kind of kickstarted my momentum, knowing 18 was a tee up, so I know I had a chance to get another birdie.”
Park played the first two rounds alone with the players paired up and an odd number on the court.
“Playing alone was a bit weird yesterday, but today I kind of got used to it,” Park said. “I think when I turned the corner and started waiting for the players in the group ahead of me, I kind of started to feel like normal golf.”
Nanna Koerstz Madsen (67) and Ally Ewing (68) were 6 under.
Koerstz Madsen has won and lost in the playoffs in his last two starts, beating Xiyu Lin three weeks ago in Thailand to become the first Danish winner in LPGA Tour history and losing to Atthaya Thitikul on Sunday in Carlsbad.
“I was very disappointed after Sunday,” Koerstz Madsen said. “But we drove here and tried to take it as a positive that I was still in the playoffs and still playing really good golf. But, of course, it was disappointing.
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