HOUSTON (FIELD LEVEL MEDIA REUTERS) – Hinako Shibuno of Japan benefited from a couple of birdies on the front nine on Friday (Dec 11) to take a 1-stroke lead at the halfway point of the second round at the US Women’s Open in Houston.
Shibuno was at 4-under par through nine holes, one shot clear of a group that included first round leader Amy Olson and Swedish amateur Linn Grant. Olson was 1-over par on the front nine after recording a bogey on the ninth hole to fall out of a share of the lead.
Olson and Grant were joined at 3-under by Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand. A whopping 45 golfers were within five shots of the lead in the year’s last major event, pushed back six months because of Covid-19.
There was an eight-way tie for fifth place at 2-under that included former major champion Inbee Park and fellow South Korean Minyoung2 Lee, as well as American Lindsey Weaver. Lee was 5-under par through 13 holes.
With rain in the forecast, the USGA moved up tee times by two hours and 20 minutes in an attempt to get the round completed. As was the case on Thursday, it sent golfers off the first and 10th tees at Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit to help finish the round before darkness is expected to hit around 4.30pm Central time.
Olson, who led the field after one round because of her steadiness, was all over the map to start her second round at Jackrabbit. After a birdie on the par-5 first hole, she promptly bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 to fall out of the lead before bagging a birdie at No. 4.
That opened the door for others, and Grant was one who eagerly seized the opening. She answered a bogey at No. 6 with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 to earn her way atop the leaderboard.
Shibuno, playing the more forgiving Jackrabbit layout, started with a birdie at the par 5 first hole. She also birdied No. 6 before taking a bogey at No. 8.