Two of the top three players in the Women’s World Golf Rankings surged their way into a tie for first place Saturday after the second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview’s Bay Course in Galloway, N.J.
LPGA Hall of Fame member Inbee Park, ranked No. 3, and her South Korean countrywoman, Jin Young Ko, the world’s No. 2-ranked player, each fired a round of 6-under-par 65 to finish 36 holes deadlocked at 11-under 131 and holding a two-stroke lead.
Second-year LPGA Tour player Patty Tavatanakit, winner of the ANA Inspiration, the first major of 2021, birdied her last hole for a 65 and moved up to third place at 133. Brittany Lincicome, a past ShopRite LPGA champion, shot a 67 and joined European Solheim Cup player Nanna Koerstz Madsen (68) in a tie for fourth at 134.
The two first-round co-leaders, So Yeon Ryu and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, each carded a 70 and were part of a four-way tie for sixth at 135 with Sue Oh (65) and Perrine Delacour (68). Two-time ShopRite LPGA champion Stacy Lewis fired a 66 to lead a six-player group at 136.
Park, 33, winner of 21 career LPGA tournaments, including seven majors, carded seven birdies and one bogey. Her bogey came at the short par-4 eighth, her 17th hole of the day, but she got the stroke back with a birdie at the par-5 ninth to join Ko, who finished her round just before Park teed off.
Park is 12th on the LPGA money list this season with nearly $957,000, and her career earnings are approaching $17.7 million. She called Ko “a really, really good player, so I think it’ll be really fun out there playing with her” Sunday.
“Obviously you need some birdies out here to win,” she said. “Knowing that the No. 2 player in the world is hunting for the same thing I am hunting for, [I] definitely need to put on a good performance.”
Ko, 26, who is in her fourth season on the tour but already has won nine tournaments and more than $6.68 million, played her round without a bogey. She had a run of five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the front nine, and only one birdie on the back nine.
“My game was like perfect on the front nine, but I was thinking, ‘OK, I want to get more birdies on the back nine,’ ” Ko said. “I was a little nervous when I was thinking about that, but I had a pretty good round today.”
The cut was established at 1-under-par 141, with 73 players moving on to Sunday’s final round. Among those whose tournament ended were defending champion Mel Reid (79-150); Nasa Hataoka (74-143), winner of last week’s Walmart NW Arkansas tournament; 17-year-old Holmdel, N.J., amateur Megha Ganne (76-146); and former Radnor High School and North Carolina star Brynn Walker (71-149).