(Reuters) - Park Sung-hyun eagled the par-four 15th hole en route to an “awesome” eight-under-par 64 and a share of the second-round clubhouse lead at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California on Friday.
South Korean Park, the U.S. Women’s Open champion, joined Swede Pernilla Lindberg at 12-under 132 on another morning of ideal conditions at Mission Hills.
Lindberg, the first round leader, followed her opening 65 with a bogey-free 67.
The leading duo had a substantial five-shot advantage over Englishwomen Jodi Ewart Shadoff (67) and Charley Hull (68) and American Amy Olson (68) with half the field back in the clubhouse.
Self-coached Park said she had not even been aware of her score.
“I just was so focused on my game today,” she told reporters.
“I was super focused at the U.S. Open, and felt just as focused for today’s round.
“Today the shots were awesome. I just felt really good about my driver.”
But it was a wedge shot that brought about the highlight of her day at the 15th, where her approach from 102 yards landed beyond the hole, took a couple of bounces and then rolled back into the cup.
“I just felt really good about the distance and saw that it had really great backspin, but I didn’t even see it go in,” she said.
Not long after Park’s eagle, American Morgan Pressel replicated the feat, her ball landing short of the hole and one-hopping into the cup.
Pressel shot 69 for one-over 145.
American Lexi Thompson (72) struggled on the greens but almost holed her eagle approach shot at the last, tapping in for birdie to trail by eight shots.
Thompson dominated pre-tournament media coverage thanks to a rules violation that effectively cost her victory last year, when she lost to Ryu So-yeon in a playoff.
That infringement had led to a four-stroke penalty — two for replacing her ball in the wrong spot for a tap-in putt, and two more for signing her third-round scorecard before the violation was brought to the attention of officials.
A more alert Thompson played the first two rounds this week with fellow American Michelle Wie (67), who made the cut in a nice comeback after an opening 75 during which she suffered dizziness.
She joked after her first round that blurred vision had left her seeing several balls as she stood over some shots.
“I definitely saw one golf ball today, which was good,” she said, adding that she had tried to conserve energy. “I sat down every chance I could.
“I just talked to the doctor last night, and he said it’s definitely some kind of ear virus thing, and definitely having a little bit of vertigo going.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar