What a difference a day makes in the 2014 LPGA Championship. When Thursday came to an end, Meena Lee and Lexi Thompson shared the lead at six under par. However, just 24 hours later, both golfers suddenly find themselves trailing.
Neither Round 1 co-leader had a disastrous round on Friday, but they also couldn't put up low enough numbers to keep pace with a surging Brittany Lincicome. She followed up her round of 67 on Thursday with a 68 on Friday, moving to nine-under for the tournament and taking a three-stroke lead into the weekend.
Monroe Golf Club has already given up some low scores to an immensely talented field, and Lincicome's lead is anything but comfortable. Here's a look at the tournament's crowded leaderboard through 36 holes:
Lincicome's Round 1 performance was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. She accumulated eight birdies and three bogeys en route to her five-under showing. While she needed one more stroke to finish her round on Friday, her game looked very solid.
An ominous start to her round featured a bogey on the par-four first, but Lincicome steadied herself and didn't allow another blemish to find its way onto her scorecard for the remainder of her round.
Birdies on the fifth and ninth holes allowed her to make the turn with a one-under 35, and she continued to surge on the back side, birdieing the par-five 12th and recording an eagle on the 14th to move to four-under on the day.
The Golf Channel tweeted what that final score meant for Lincicome:
The tournament's 36-hole leader shared her thoughts after the round:
While Lincicome was surging to the top of the leaderboard, a very familiar name was making a big move behind her.
Inbee Park is never really a stranger to LPGA leaderboards, and that trend continued after she catapulted up the standings with a six-under 66 on the day after scoring an even-par 72 on Thursday to begin her tournament.
Park began strong, recording three birdies over her first four holes. After making the turn with a three-under 33, she played her next six holes at four under—highlighted by an eagle at the par-five 14th hole.
Unfortunately, a bogey at the par-four 17th wouldn't allow her a blemish-free round, but the defending champion sure turned some heads on Friday. Here's what Park had to say after her round, via LPGA's Twitter account:
Tied for 2nd Inbee Park shot up the leaderboard today w/a 66 as she gets ready for the weekend @wegmansLGPA http://t.co/W1o51Zc9V7— LPGA (@LPGA) August 15, 2014
While Park surged, Thomas stood still, shooting an even-par 72 on the day.
Thompson began on the back nine on Friday, and she started strong. LPGA tweeted her position near the beginning of her round:
The low numbers wouldn't continue, as she took bogeys on the final two holes of her first nine to fall back to six-under for the tournament. That trend continued on her second nine, recording one birdie and another bogey to finish the day at even par.
Jane Park and Lydia Ko made moves up the standings, each posting a three-under 69 on the day to get into a three-way tie for fourth place with the faltering Meena Lee.
After an impressive 66 on Day 1, Lee followed that six-under performance with a one-over 73 on Friday. Lee took a bogey on the par-three sixth for a one-over 37 on the front nine, and she followed that up with two birdies and two bogeys on a lackluster even-par back nine.
Lee's 73 was the only round over par by any of the tournament's top-15 players on Friday. Still, she's still well in the mix, so we'll see if she can right the ship before she tees off on Saturday.
With 12 players within five strokes of the lead at the midway point through the tournament, we can expect plenty of intensity throughout the LPGA Championship's remaining 36 holes. Everyone will be looking to catch Lincicome, whose confidence is surely high after two solid rounds:
Saturday is also known as "moving day" for professional golfers. If Monroe Golf Club's conditions remain pristine, and the weather cooperates, this talented field is capable of putting up some impressive scores over the weekend.
Stay tuned for what promises to be a very exciting second half of the 2014 LPGA Championship.