Georgia Hall carded a sensational five-under-par 67 in perfect scoring conditions at Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews on Friday morning to share the clubhouse lead with Lexi Thompson on nine-under-par.
The 21-year-old from Bournemouth made a tremendous start with four straight birdies from the second hole to tie for the lead with overnight leader Michelle Wie on eight-under.
She made her first bogey of the championship at the par-4 ninth, after driving into the rough and having to chip out to the fairway, before playing her third shot short of the green and making a solid up and down there.
The European Solheim Cup team rankings leader made another gain on the long 11th to regain a share of the lead and then drilled her 5-iron tee shot in to two feet at the par-3 14th for her sixth birdie of the day to move a stroke ahead.
Another birdie followed at the long 15th, where she drained a long putt for a two-stroke advantage at 10-under. However, she dropped a second stroke on the 16th after finding a pot bunker in the middle of the fairway from the tee.
“I don’t think I’ve had four birdies in a row before, so I was very happy to be four-under after five,” said Hall, who shared the Smyth Salver with Lydia Ko, as the leading amateur in the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open at St Andrews.
“I holed a good putt on the second and had a tap-in on three, a 20-footer for birdie on four and made an eight-footer on the fifth. I hit it quite close, which made it a bit easier. I’m playing and putting really well, so that’s helping me.”
Another player who made the most of the soft greens was the world number two, Lexi Thompson, who shot a 68, which included two bogeys on the third and fourth holes followed by a back nine of 30, with five birdies in a row from the 10th and another at the 17th.
“I actually hit it the same throughout both nines but I missed up the 40 footers on both of those bogeys and three-putted them. I hit it great all day and just got on a roll on the back. The wind died down towards the end of the round but we had a good amount of wind this morning. It was more of a cross wind today, but it wasn’t raining, so I wasn’t complaining.”
Thompson said she liked playing on slower greens that normal. “I do prefer them, because I feel I can go after my putts a little more and be more aggressive on them.”
Jodi Ewart Shadoff was only a stroke further behind the leaders on eight-under-par after 16 holes in her second round, but bogeyed the 17th to finish her morning round on seven-under alongside the 2014 champion Mo Martin and Ha-Na Jang. Overnight leader Michelle Wie went out in 38 with bogeys on the third and fifth holes and had to contend with several heavy downpours during her front nine.