Jennifer Kupcho has opened a two-stroke lead over defending champion Nelly Korda in the Meijer LPGA Classic, shooting a five-under 67 in windy conditions for her second straight bogey-free round.
A stroke ahead entering the morning round after a career-best 63 on Thursday afternoon, Kupcho had a 14-under 130 total at wind-swept Blythefield Country Club.
"It's really windy out here," Kupcho said. "I don't recall it being this windy the last couple years, so this is definitely interesting, definitely a challenge. You definitely have to use your brain a lot."
Korda holed out from 82 yards for eagle on the par-5 14th in a bogey-free 65. She's making her second start since returning from a four-month break because of a blood clot in her left arm.
"It spun right back into the hole," Korda said about the eagle. "Not many people saw it. It was that part of the golf course that no one really saw, but it was fun."
Kupcho won the Chevron Championship at Mission Hills in the California desert in early April for her first LPGA Tour victory. On Friday, she parred the first eight holes, finally breaking through on the par-5 18th.
"I started out not really hitting it great, so was really just trying to stay patient," Kupcho said. "Couple holes saved par, so I actually got out of the holes pretty well."
She made it three straight with birdies on the par-4 1st and 2nd and added two more on the par-3 5th and par-5 8th.
"I didn't really expect a whole lot coming out here today," Kupcho said. "Set a pretty low bar for myself, so to come out and play well, it was nice to see."
The second-ranked Korda tied for eighth two weeks ago in the U.S. Women's Open in her first event since early February. She also is the defending champion next week in the KPGA Women's PGA at Congressional.
"There were definitely some numbers I've never had into some holes on this golf course," Korda said about the wind. "I mean, it's both ways. You have some really short yardages holes and some really long ones, so kind of evens it out. But it's definitely tougher playing in the wind."
"I didn't really expect a whole lot coming out here today. Set a pretty low bar for myself, so to come out and play well, it was nice to see." - Jennifer Kupcho.
Carlota Ciganda was third at 11-under after a 65. The Spaniard eagled the par-5 8th and 18th – hitting downwind 9-iron approaches on each – and also had six birdies and three bogeys. She was seven-under on the five par-5 holes.
Past champions Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson were 10-under with Madelene Sagstrom.
Henderson, the ShopRite LPGA Classic winner Sunday in New Jersey and 2017 and 2019 champion at Blythefield, eagled the 18th for the second straight day in a 66.
Caroline Masson (68) and Anna Nordqvist (70) are at nine-under.
U.S. Women's Open champion Minjee Lee is seven-under after a 69 that left her tied 12th, one shot ahead of compatriot Hannah Green (68).
After her fine opening 68, Katherine Kirk (71) is tied 24th at five-under.