Mamiko Higa shot an even-par 71 but it was good enough to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
The 25-year-old from Tokyo, Japan, who posted a round-one 65, finished her second day at the Country Club of Charleston with four bogeys offset by four birdies, highlighted by a final-hole gain to sign for a two-day score of 6-under par.
“I was really happy because I could finish up a tough day with a birdie,” said Higa. “I was so happy.”
Jessica Korda was one stroke back after a bogey-free 68. The 26-year old American was joint second-place at 5-under par, alongside Celine Boutier, who also carded a birdie on her final hole to sign for a 70.
Korda enters the weekend in prime position to win her first major championship title.
“That’s what you play for,” said Korda, of becoming a major champion. “At the same time, I feel a lot of luck is always a big part of winning a Major Championship, making the most putts and the least amount of mistakes.
“It’s really hard to win out here, obviously. I think everybody can see that, watching us week in week out. Solid golf will always put me up top. If I have a chance, I’ll try to take it.”
One further back was American amateur Gina Kim, who followed up a day-one 66 with a second-day 72 to sit solo fourth on 4-under par.
With a 138 two-round total, Kim – who just completed her freshman year at Duke University, tied for the second-lowest 36-hole score by an amateur in U.S. Open history, just behind Grace Park’s 137 in 1999.
“I try not to have any expectations for myself, and I think that really helps in terms of me just trying to have fun but also knowing that I have to compete out here as well,” said Kim, whose first-round 66 is the lowest round ever by an amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I just think kind of being confident in what I’m doing and constantly just keeping the same routine and committing to it and just enjoy the experience while walking, I think that’s really helped me a lot so far.”
Top-ranked stars Lexi Thompson (69), Sei Young Kim (71), and So Yeon Ryu (68) headlined a five-player logjam at 3-under par.
Nelly Korda (71), Sung Hyun Park (69), Minjee Lee (69), and Inbee Park (70) were some of the notables among eight players tied for 10th at 2-under par.
2019 U.S. Women’s Open
Top 5: Round Two
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Mamiko Higa -6 (E)
2. Jessica Korda -5 (-3)
2. Celine Boutier -5 (-1)
4. Gina Kim -4 (+1)
5. Jeongeun Lee6 -3 (-2)
5. Jaye Marie Green -3 (-3)
5. Sei Young Kim -3 (E)
5. Lexi Thompson -3 (-2)
5. So Yeon Ryu -3 (-3)
Saturday’s Final Pairings
- 1:40 pm: Mamiko Higa, Jessica Korda, Celine Boutier
- 1:29 pm: Gina Kim, Jeongeun Lee6, Jaye Marie Green
- 1:18 pm: Lexi Thompson, Sei young Kim, So Yeon Ryu
Video: Round-2 Highlights
“I think I’m in a good position right now. I’m going to stick with my game plan and what I’ve been working on with my swing and just how I’ve been challenging this golf course with driver and playing it aggressively. At the same time, playing the holes needed that you just you have to get a par and run and then take advantage of maybe a few of the par 5s I can reach and hopefully birdie.”
– Lexi Thompson (-3, T5)