Scotland’s Mhairi McKay extended her lead at the Women’s US Open to four shots at the halfway mark, despite racking up a triple bogey seven on her final hole at Pumpkin Ridge GC in Oregon.

The 28-year-old from Glasgow was seemingly on cruise control as she reached nine under par for 35 holes and led by seven shots. But after finding a buried lie in the fairway bunker from the tee at the 427-yard ninth hole and taking five more to reach the putting surface, the amicable Scot had to hole from ten feet for a triple bogey seven to post a one under par 70 to add to her scintillating opening round 66.

Trouble at the ninth

“Obviously, you never want to finish with a triple, but I actually didn’t feel I played the hole too badly,” said McKay.

“I was really unlucky with the lie from the tee shot, and the rest of the hole was a set of circumstances where I just couldn’t get it back into play – I was totally relieved when the putt went in.

“I couldn’t get a stance in the fairway bunker and had to hit it as hard as I can just to get it out

“But tomorrow, I am just going to stay in the present, make a lot of good swings and focus hard on the positives, try and make pars and birdies and stay out of any fairway bunkers on number nine!” Nicholas was also showing signs of the form that took her to the title in 1997 with 85 percent of fairways hit in round two and 26 putts for the day in her 67. Six birdies, ten pars and just two bogeys on this tight course with slick greens helped Nicholas back near the top of the leaderboard after a bizarre opening day 75 when she admitted she was shocked at how difficult the course was playing.

“I’m living off some great memories from here this week, everything has been great and I’ve loved every moment of it,” said Nicholas.

“Yesterday I was tense and I said to myself halfway round, relax – you’ve won it – but I was in shock at how the course was playing. It was so hard and fast so today I just went out and pitched everything short of the green and ran it up to the hole. That seemed to work and I holed a few putts, so overall it was a good day.”

England’s Laura Davies narrowly missed out on the weekend play despite recovering from an opening 79 with a level-par 71, but her eight-over-par total was one too many to make the cut and takes the weekend off along with two time winner Karrie Webb and former European number one Raquel Carriedo.

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