Canada’s Henderson is tied for 4th after Round 2 of the LPGA Meijer Classic

Jennifer Kupcho opened up a two-shot lead over defending champion Nelly Korda on Friday in the LPGA Meijer Classic, shooting a 5-under 67 in windy conditions for her second straight bogey-free run.

Canada’s Brooke Henderson was four shots off the lead and tied for fourth.

A shot ahead at the start of the morning round after a career-best 63 on Thursday afternoon, Kupcho had a total of 14 under 130 at the windswept Blythefield Country Club.

« It’s really windy here, » Kupcho said. « I don’t remember it being so windy in the last two years, so it’s really interesting, definitely a challenge. You definitely have to use your brain a lot. »

Korda bore from 82 yards for the Eagle on the par-5 14th in a bogeyless 65. She is making her second start since returning from a four-month hiatus due to a blood clot in her left arm.

« He went back into the hole, » Korda said of the eagle. « Not many people saw it. It was that part of the golf course that nobody really saw, but it was fun. »

Kupcho won the major at Mission Hills in the California desert in early April for his first victory on the LPGA Tour. On Friday, she parried the first eight holes, finally drilling the par-5 18th.

« I started not hitting really well, so I was really trying to stay patient, » Kupcho said. « Two holes saved par, so I came out of the holes pretty well. »

She birdied three in a row on par-4 first and second and added two more on par-3 fifth and par-5 eighth.

« I didn’t really expect a lot here today, » Kupcho said. « I set a pretty low bar for myself, so to come out and play well, that was nice to see. »

Second-ranked Korda finished tied for eighth two weeks ago at the US Women’s Open in her first event since early February. She’s also the defending champion next week in the KPGA Women’s PGA Congress.

« There were definitely some numbers that I had never had on some holes on this golf course, » Korda said of the wind. « I mean, it’s both ways. You have very short holes and very long ones, so it kind of evens out. But it’s definitely harder to play in the wind. »

Carlota Ciganda finished third at 11 under after a 65. The Spaniard made the par-5 eighth-and-18 – hitting downwind 9-iron approaches on each – and also had six birdies and three bogeys. She was 7 under on the five par-5 holes.

“I think the key was that I hit a lot of greens both days, yesterday and today,” Ciganda said. « It’s quite tricky with the wind. »

Henderson targets strong weekend push

Former champions Lexi Thompson and Henderson, of Smiths Falls, Ont., had 10 cents with Madelene Sagstrom.

Henderson, the winner of Sunday’s ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey and 2017 and 2019 champion in Blythefield, won 18th for the second straight day in 66. She played alongside Korda.

« Excited for the weekend, » Henderson said. « I have to do some moves tomorrow, but I’m really looking forward to the chance. »

Thompson, the 2015 winner, tied Sagstrom with a 69.

« In the middle of the front nine, I was like, ‘Can we turn around and start going the other way in the right wind? . »

Caroline Masson (68) and Anna Nordqvist (70) were 9 under.

Gerina Mendoza, one shot back after an open 64, had a 72 to drop six shots to 8 under. Jessica Korda, Nelly’s older sister, was also in the group at 8 under after her second 68.

« Honestly, I just try to keep it in play, » Jessica Korda said. « It was really windy there. »

US Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee was 7 under after a 69. Alena Sharp (70) of Hamilton and Maude-Aimee Leblanc (72) of Sherbrooke, Que., were 2 under.

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