WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — While Jiyai Shin went from spectacular to solid, a bevy contenders from the United States made up ground in the second round of the Kingsmill Championship Friday at the River Course.
Shin, a 24-year-old from South Korea who fired a tournament-record 62 in the opening round, followed up with a 3-under 68 and leads by a stroke at 12-under-par. But many have jumped into contention including four of America’s top players, two of them teenagers.
Danielle Kang, 19, shot the day’s best round (64) and trails by a stroke. Paula Creamer (67) trails by two. Eighteen-year-old Lexi Thompson (66) is three back, while Stacy Lewis (65) trails by four.
After a cloudy and storm-delayed first round, the sky was clear on a hot, humid day at the River Course, the sun glistening off the James River. Conditions still were soft enough to require lift-clean-and-place in the fairway, and it was Kang who took the most advantage.
Kang, who turned pro a year ago after winning her second straight U.S. Amateur title last summer, was coming off consecutive missed cuts, but made eight birdies and no bogeys on the final 14 holes. She needed only 26 putts on Friday, crediting a tip from her brother, Alex, a recent graduate and standout golfer at San Diego State.
“My brother says I owe him five percent of whatever I win this week,” Kang said. “If he can get me to shoot under par and go low, I’ll give you 20 percent.”
America’s top-ranked teenager, Thompson, jump-started her round with an eagle at No. 3, hitting a 4-iron from 202 yards out to within 20 feet and making the putt. Thompson, the LPGA’s leader in driving distance, averaged 267 yards off the tee on Friday, getting no roll on the saturated fairways.
“I really like the golf course,” said Thompson who is playing Kingsmill for the first time. “I heard nothing but great things about the event, golf course, and fans too … Today was packed. Hopefully see a lot of people out here on the weekend.”
Lewis, 27, a four-time winner on the LPGA including a major, jumped into the picture taking only 21 putts in the second round. After needing 31 putts on Thursday, Lewis said putting in the dark helped her on Friday.
“I worked on some alignment things and just tried to get more comfortable over the ball,” said Lewis who has a pair of wins this year and added that her goal is to win Player of the Year.