SYLVANIA, Ohio —
Slightly cooler temperatures and firms greens made for picture-perfect weather for those at Highland Meadows Golf Club for round two of the Marathon Classic.
Walking off the ninth green at the conclusion of her round, the No. 4 ranked golfer in the world, Lexi Thompson, was skeptical that her nine-under par score would hold as leader as the afternoon groupings took the course.
“I am very happy. I am sure I will not be leading after the day is done, but still, I did what I could do,” Thompson said.
She guessed right, but her score was still relatively close to the top of the leaderboard. Her -4 round — which began with two birdies — was outmatched by the South Korean duo of Sei Young Kim and Jeongeun Lee6, who outpaced her by one and two strokes respectively.
Out of the 133 golfers that played in today’s portion of the tournament, Kim finished with the best score of the day (-7), which earned her a sole place atop the leaderboard at -11.
“I made a lot of low-par. I was about 10 yards from the hole,” Kim said. “It was pretty good.”
Kim was primed for a big day after she birdied holes three through six and she put an exclamation mark on Friday’s round with a birdie on 18.
“I am very excited. I try to calm down,” she said. “I have two more rounds. I did my best and played the best round I could.”
Lee6, who is ranked as the ninth best golfer in the world, hit a brief road block on hole 12 with an unexpected bogey; that hiccup put her -8. However, with birdies on holes 16 and 18 and by scoring par from 12 on, she placed herself one stroke behind the lead.
Behind the world’s 12th ranked golfer in Kim and Lee6, sits a three-way tie featuring Thompson, Toledo-born Stacy Lewis and Jennifer Kupcho. The rookie who is playing in the Marathon Classic for the first time, Kupcho, snuck into third place with the best round of the year.
“I have been hitting the ball really well this week,” Kupcho said. “I love this course. It is just a great place."
Lewis, who finished yesterday six-under, had a tumultuous start. Bogeys on holes two and four resulted in her score slipping to five under. She responded with four birdies over her next nine holes and closed out Friday with five consecutive pars.
“I did not play as good today but I managed it pretty good,” Lewis said. “I am a couple near the lead. I am excited with the way I am playing."
Yesterday’s tied leader, Youngin Chun, headlines a three-way tie at eight-under. Two bogeys and only three birdies resulted in a one-under performance.
“It was fun. There were nerves and pressure,” Chun said. "I was trying to focus and put it on the green.”
On the flip side of yesterday’s leaders, Alena Sharp fell 10 spots down on the leaderboard with a +1 performance.
The highlight of Friday came on hole eight, where Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras put the ball in the cup from the tee — resulting in a hole-in-one. A dreadful double bogey and two additional bogeys has her tied for 15th, even though she had six birdies.
Joining Lee6 and Kupcho with five-under performances (second best score of the day) was England’s Stephanie Meadow and USA’s Angela Stanford. Meadow went from tied for 59th yesterday to tied for 15th today. Stanford was tied for 110 after Thursday to tied for 38th and making the cut today.
Erica Shepherd, 18, was the only amateur to make the cut.
Round three will pick back up on Saturday at 7:15 a.m. with a projected 78 golfers officially in contention for Sunday’s championship.