Harigae, Hall share lead at Women’s British Open; Yuka Saso at joint 5th
Mina Harigae fired a 5-under 67 in the second round of the AIG Women’s Open and joined England’s Georgia Hall in a tie for the 36-hole lead on Friday at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.
At 7 under for the event, Harigae and Hall are one stroke ahead of world No. 4 Sei Young Kim of South Korea and Lizette Salas.
Harigae, 31, has yet to win an LPGA Tour title and her best-ever finish in a major came in 2020, when she tied for 13th in the Women’s PGA Championship. Onlookers wouldn’t know it watching her play Carnoustie’s difficult back nine, during which she recovered from a bogey on No. 10 with birdies at Nos. 12, 14, 16 and 18.
“I think 18 is a highlight for me,” Harigae said. “It’s such a hard hole. I had a 4-hybrid in and you have to hit really good shots. I think it’s a great birdie on that tough hole.”
She finished her round with seven birdies and two bogeys, setting herself up for a Saturday pairing with co-leader Hall of England, who attracted a crowd of followers by the end of her round.
Hall shot a 3-under 69 with six birdies, a bogey and a double bogey on No. 15 that brought her back to the pack. Despite that misstep, Hall was invigorated by the challenging conditions the morning presented.
“I think it’s about time it got windy,” Hall said. “It’s proper links golf (and) that’s what people want to see and I think it makes golf much more interesting when there’s a lot of wind. So I’m quite excited to play in it. Obviously it makes it a lot harder but I think it will be a true test.”
Hall was the 2018 Women’s Open champion.
Salas bounced back from a bogey at No. 3 with two consecutive birdies and added two more at Nos. 13 and 18. Salas is again in the hunt for her first major victory after runner-up finishes at both the 2019 Women’s Open and the Women’s PGA Championship in June.
Kim finished the front nine at 4-under 32 but came in at 3-over 39, with four bogeys on her back nine.
“I missed the tee shot on holes 10 and 11, and I got in the bunker, both got in the bunker,” Kim said, “and then you know, this links course, if you go in the bunker, you automatically lay up.”
Seven players are tied for fifth at 5 under, including U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso of the Philippines (71) and Lexi Thompson (70). The latter briefly tied for the lead at 7 under after her fourth birdie of the day before giving a few shots back.
Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn both shot 5-under 67 to get to 5 under. They’re also tied with Yealimi Noh (69), Wichanee Meechai of Thailand (68) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark (69).
Two first-round co-leaders, Nelly Korda and Swede Madelene Sagstrom, took a step backward with rounds of 1-over 73. They’re now tied at 4 under, part of a group of six women.
Megan Khang posted the low round of the day with a 6-under 66 that carried her to the right side of the cut line. After an opening-round 77, Khang enters the weekend at 1 under.
Notables who missed the 1-over cut line included amateur Rose Zhang (2 over), defending champion Sophia Popov of Germany (3 over), world No. 5 Danielle Kang (7 over) and English fan favorites Bronte Law (3 over), Charley Hull (4 over) and Mel Reid (5 over).