World number one Lorena Ochoa took a big stride towards a third major in a row when she took the halfway lead with a second-round seven-under-par 65 in the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in Maryland.
Winner of the Women’s British Open at St Andrews last August and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California in March, the 26-year-old Mexican posted a 10-under-par total for a one-shot lead over England-born Australian, Lindsey Wright.
Canada’s Lorie Kane, joint first-round leader on 66, was in third place on eight-under after a 70 – while three-time winner Annika Sorenstam was four shots off the lead on six-under after a 68.
After her error-free, seven-birdie round, Ochoa was in confident mood.
“It was a great day – just really easy,” said the season’s six-time winner on the LPGA Tour.
“I hit every fairway and I think I gave myself 17 birdie chances. I enjoyed it a lot. The driver is always important at a major – and I hope I can keep it going.”
Wright added a 68 to her opening 67 for nine-under, while 43-year-old Kane highlighted her round with a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh.
Karen Stupples, on two under after a second successive 71, was the best of the five British players. Scot Mhairi McKay, with a fine 69, was the only other Briton to make the cut. She was on the final mark of level-par 144.
Over a course playing very long after days of heavy rain, Ochoa constantly peppered the pin.
Five of her seven birdies were from inside eight feet. Her longest was from 25 feet at the 16th, while she ended the round in style by knocking in a 20-foot effort for a three at the par-four 18th.