PITTSFORD – Defending champion Inbee Park didn’t make many putts in her opening round Thursday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
So she employed a different strategy Friday during the second round at Monroe Golf Club – keep the putter in the bag.
Park holed a birdie chip shot on the par-4 first hole and sunk a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 14th hole as part of a round of 6-under 66, moving her from a tie for 48th all the way up to a tie for second.
She’s at 6-under 138, joined by first-round co-leader Lexi Thompson after 36 holes of the season’s fourth major.
“Yesterday nothing really wanted to drop for me, and today it was just falling from outside the greens,” Park said. “My putter decided not to be used today that much.”
Park, the third-ranked player in the world, is looking for her first major championship this season – a year after she won the first three majors in 2013.
“I haven’t been playing as well as last year, obviously,” she said. “The majors this year have been really firm greens and just long distance. … It’s been a little different from last year’s set-ups, but I just didn’t play as well.”
Park’s game, though, has shown signs of coming around. She finished second last week in the Meijer LPGA Classic, and last month was fourth in the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“I feel like something is around the corner,” she said. “Hopefully I can do it this week in a major. That would be great.”
The best round of the tournament thus far was turned in Friday by Portugal’s Julieta Granada, who shot a 7-under 65 to climb all the way from a tie for 98th after the opening round to a tie for seventh at 4-under 140.
“It was weird yesterday because I took three weeks off and it was like my timing was a little bit off from tournament golf,” she said. “So today I was just trying to get my rhythm, and I think I did that pretty well.”
Granada opened with a birdie on the par-4 second hole and eagle on the par-5 third hole, finishing her round bogey free.
Jennifer Johnson carded her second straight round of 2-under 70 to sit in a tie for seventh place at 4-under 140, but the 23-year-old from San Diego had a complaint about the pin placements on the course.
“Some of them are pretty crazy,” Johnson said. “I’m, like, wondering what some people were thinking setting those, but you’ve got to stay patient because everyone’s playing the same pin.”
The pin was six “paces” – roughly equivalent to yards – from either the left or right side of the green on 13 of 18 holes Friday.
Among the notable players to miss the cut, which fell at 2-over 146, were American stars Paula Creamer, who shot 6-over 150, Morgan Pressel (4-over 148) and South Korea’s Amy Yang (4-over 148), the world’s 15th-ranked player.
Creamer hadn’t missed the cut in a major since turning professional in 2005, a streak of 39 straight tournaments.
“It was an awesome run,” she said. “It’s unfortunate it happened this way, but some things just have to come to an end at times.”
Creamer’s longtime caddie, Colin Cann, suffered back spasms in the morning and had to go to the hospital.
“Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time is come out here without him,” she said. “We’ve been together 10 years and I cried. I hated to see him in pain.”
Former LPGA Tour player Meaghan Francella, who carried for Pat Hurst in the morning round, took over as Creamer’s caddie in the afternoon.
Spain’s Belen Mozo withdrew with a sore back.