CINCINNATI — Peiyun Chien of Taiwan holed out for eagle on the sixth hole and played bogey-free on Friday for an 8-under 64 to build a 4-shot lead in the Kroger Queen City Championship as she tries for her first LPGA Tour victory.
Chien has won three times on what is now the Epson Tour and twice on the Taiwan LPGA.
“I really want to play well in America and go back to Asia, play Asian Games for my country” said Chien, who reached the halfway mark at 14-under 130 at Kenwood Country Club.
Ruoning Yin of China, who captured her first major this summer at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, also played bogey-free for a 66 that left her 4 shots behind with Morgane Metraux of Switzerland (66) and 18-hole leader Ruixin Liu of China (69).
Yin has a mathematical chance of reaching No. 1 in the women’s world ranking, which would allow her to join Shanshan Feng as the only players from China to be atop the ranking.
Chien attributed her great round to her putting. She said she prefers to swap out putters every week and is proud that she has kept this one in play for at least a month. It’s a good weapon to have on the Kendale course, which has firm and fast greens from dry weather.
Liu also was superb with the putter, and she needed to be. She didn’t hit the ball as well as she did Thursday when she shot a 65, but she holed plenty of putts for par to stay close and finished her round with a shot out of the fairway bunker to 12 feet for birdie.
Rose Zhang had a 68 and was eight shots back.
Lexi Thompson had reason to celebrate — she gets to play golf for two more days. Thompson made eight birdies to offset some mistakes in her round of 68. That allowed her to make the cut for the first time since the Women’s PGA Championship, and it was her lowest score of the year in individual stroke play.
This is Thompson’s final event before the Solheim Cup in Spain on Sept. 22-24. U.S. Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz had another 72 and missed the cut, along with fellow U.S. Solheim Cup player Cheyenne Knight, who had a 73.
Linn Grant of Sweden shot 71 and missed the cut ahead of her Solheim Cup debut.
Perrine Delacour had a chance to be closer with her eight birdies. What held her back was opening with a double bogey, and then hitting into the hazard and making a double bogey on the 18th hole. Everything else in the middle was sharp.
“I don’t even know how many birdies I made all day,” Delacour said. “As a golfer, you don’t want to start with a double and finish with a double. That’s why I’m kind of little upset of my round. But at the end of the day it’s still under par. I’m still near the top of the leaderboard, so I still got a chance for the weekend.”