A day after players were raving about the conditions in Thailand, firmer and faster greens made for a much tougher test on day two of the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Grouped together in the final group on Friday, first round leader Lexi Thompson, Q Baek and defending champion Amy Yang took turns atop the leaderboard. Thompson and Baek shared the lead for much of the front nine, but it was Yang who ended the day atop the leaderboard. 

“I mean, I struggled a little bit on the front, two bogeys straight, but I think I stayed patient well, got through it well. I'm happy with today's round,” Yang said.While her playing partners both dropped shots on the inward nine, Yang went bogey-free on the back nine to post a 3-under par, 69 to lead by one at 9-under par. Should Yang defend her title on Sunday, she would be just the second to do so in the 10 year history of the Honda LPGA Classic and first since Yani Tseng successfully went back-to-back in 2011 an 2012.

Q Baek is one back of Yang, T-2 at 8-under par after an up and down day that resulted in a 1-under par, 71. Also T-2 is first round leader Lexi Thompson, whose second round was about getting up and down. After an unlucky bounce with her approach to the par 4, 11th she was able to save par from behind the green, but wasn’t so lucky at the 13th and 17th hole, where she left her chip short and then ran her second one well past the hole as the greens continued to firm up Friday. After her approach to the 18th hole rolled off the front side of the green, Thompson managed to get up and down for birdie to finish even for the day. She’s T-2 at 8-under par.

“It's just pin positions, and the ridges on these greens, you can get some tough pins, especially with how fast the greens are, so you have to make sure you hit the fairways and get the spin that you need going into the greens,” Thompson said after the round. “But it's a tough course, especially with the fast greens. There's a lot of run-ups and a lot of ridges.”

lso T-2 is Jessica Korda, who despite tough pin placements and fast greens, matched Haru Nomura for the low round of the day by draining a 12-footer for eagle on 18 to card a 6-under par, 66 on Friday. She’s making her first start this week after taking some time off following the Coates Golf Championship, spending time with friends Michelle Wie and Austin Ernst and working with instructor David Whelan.

“It was nice. I took like three days off after Ocala because the first two weeks it felt like super jammed. Everything was really jammed in. So I just took a couple days off and then went back,” said Korda.  “We've just been working on keeping my tempo kind of slower. I kind of tend to rush, try and speed everything up, and just really trying to keep my tempo and keep myself happy and calm.”

Haru Nomura, Chella Choi, In Gee Chun, and Ha Na Jang round out the top-5 at 6-under par. Eight players are within three-strokes of the lead and all are winners on the LPGA Tour.

Currently T-9 at 5-under par, Xi Yu Lin has had a special week. Lin celebrated her birthday on Thursday and received a belated gift on Friday when she made an ace at the par 3, 16th hole. Lin had no idea she had holed her tee shot until she made her way up to the green and realized her ball was in the hole and that she had won the car sitting behind the tee.

“When I walked off the tee, I just didn't believe. I was thinking they were kidding, so I didn't really look at the car, but it's funny, like then on the 17th hole I see the group behind coming in, and I was thinking, okay, don't touch my car, that's my car,” Lin said after her round.

It was the second ace in Tournament play for Lin, who carded a 4-under par, 68 on Friday.


Click here for complete scores from the second round of the Honda LPGA Thailand


Written By: Amy Rogers LPGA


Photo Credit: 2016 Getty Images