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Sarah Schmelzel takes a 2-shot lead midway through the second round of the Women's PGA Championship


SAMMAMISH, Wash. (AP) — Sarah Schmelzel birdied her final two holes for a 5-under 67 to take a two-shot lead midway through the second round of the the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Friday.

The 30-year-old Schmelzel, winless in six seasons on the LPGA Tour, led at 6-under 138 after making six birdies and one bogey in her morning round at tree-lined Sahalee.

Three former major champions were two shots back: first-round leader Lexi Thompson (72), Jin Young Ko (68) and Hinako Shibuno (70).

The afternoon wave included Nelly Korda, the No. 1 player in the world who shot 69 in the first round. Korda bogeyed each of her first four holes to fall to 1 over.

Schmelzel made a 10-footer on the par-3 17th hole and stayed aggressive on the par-5 18th, knocking her 3-wood short of the green and chipping to a foot for a tap-in birdie and the low round of the championship.

“Just staying really patient out there and aggressive off the tee was kind of our game plan this week,” Schmelzel said. “I drove (the ball) really well, so fortunately able to take advantage of having some shorter irons in today.”

Schmelzel, who played in college at South Carolina, had her career-best finish earlier this year, a runner-up at the Blue Bay LPGA in China.

Starting on the back nine, Thompson turned in 3-under 33 to reach 7 under, but made a double bogey on the par-5 second hole. Her second shot missed left, forcing a punch-out, and she three-putted for a 7. Thompson dropped another shot on the par-4 fourth.

The 29-year-old Thompson, who recently announced this season will be her last playing a full schedule, lost a playoff last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic. She hasn't won on the LPGA Tour since June 2019 and claimed her lone major a decade ago at Mission Hills in the California desert.

“You’re going to hit some bad shots, maybe get penalized by the trees,” Thompson said. “You just have to take your medicine with either pitching out or getting back into position.”

Ko was bogey-free through 16 holes before making bogey on the par-4 eighth.

Brooke Henderson, who won the Women's PGA the previous time it was played at Sahalee in 2016, shot 72 and was 1 over through 36 holes.


AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf