Sarah Kemp has yet to win an LPGA Tour title in 14 years of trying, but the 35-year-old Australian has shot herself into contention with a four-under 67 at a firm and fast Kingsmill Resort in Virginia.
She tops the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead after two rounds at the LPGA Tour event.
"This golf course is made for me because I feel like I'm not long," Kemp said.
"I can't imagine it being an advantage for the long hitters and I'm not a bomber," Kemp said.
"If I just hit it down the fairway, it's firm and fast and they're rolling out and I've had a lot of wedge shots."
Kemp rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 fourth – her 13th hole of the day on the River Course – with birdies on the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth, holing a 20-footer on No.8 to tie with Stacy Lewis for the lead at six-under and finished with a par on No.9.
"I really turned my putting around at the end of last year," Kemp said.
"I worked really hard. I was annoyed because I had hit the ball great for a couple of years and I just didn't convert the opportunities."
The 35-year-old Lewis has 13 LPGA Tour titles, the last of which came in the 2020 Ladies Scottish Open – also in firm and fast conditions.
"I love it," Lewis said.
"You have to think about how far your drive rolls out, which bounce you're going to get in the fairways.
"It's 'thinking golf'. I love it playing like this. I mean, when it's lush and green it looks great on TV, but I like playing this kind of golf better."
First-round leader Wei-Ling Hsu followed her opening 66 with a 72 to fall two strokes back at four under in a group with third-ranked Sei Young Kim (71), Moriya Jutanugarn (67), Haeji Kang (68) and Wichanee Meechai (68).
Katherine Kirk hit a one-under 70 and is tied for 10th at three under, while Sarah Jane Smith (73) is four shots back overall in 47th.
Gabriela Ruffels (73) and Su Oh (77) failed to make the cut.
Ariya Jutanugarn, coming off a victory two weeks ago in her home LPGA Tour event in Thailand, missed the cut with rounds of 70 and 77.
She won at Kingsmill in 2016 and 2018.