Katherine Kirk is in the running to defend her title at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP
Katherine Kirk is in the running to defend her title at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP

Kirk follows 62 with a 71 to sit equal third

AUSTRALIA'S Katherine Kirk, the overnight leader, battled her way to a one-under 71 in the second round to be tied for third at the halfway point of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin.

A day after shooting a sizzling 10-under-par 62, the defending champion hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation but managed just two birdies to sit five shots off the pace set by South Korea's Sei Young Kim.

"Front nine, I just couldn't get one to drop, and back nine, hit lots of good putts and, again, nothing happened," Kirk said after her round that included 33 putts.

"Overall, I'm happy with how today went. I was very patient. I hit a lot of greens. That's all you can do."

Kirk - who broke a seven-year, 152 tournament victory drought last year at the same event - heads Australia's charge in Wisconsin, with Minjee Lee (69) at seven under and tied for 30th, Rebecca Artis (69) at five under and tied for 58th.

Kim carded a second-round 65, which included a double-bogey on the par-three 17th, to be 16 under.

The South Korean started the day in second place but jumped to the top of leaderboard after firing nine birdies, including five in six holes from the 10th. She takes a four-shot lead into the third round.

Yu Lu of China (63) is in second place at 12 under.

Joining Kirk at 11 under are In Gee Chun (66), Amy Yang (66), Mariah Stackhouse (67) and Emma Talley (68).

The cut was four-under-par, one shot off the lowest cut line in LPGA history.

- AAP



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