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Ryu fires 67 to vault into lead at LPGA’s Meijer Classic

Chicago, USA: Ryu So-Yeon, who is seeking her first win of 2018, shot a five-under 67 to seize the sole lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA's Meijer Classic on Friday.

South Korea's Ryu got off to a smooth start with back-to-back birdies on her opening holes, but then carded three bogyes in five holes before the turn. She righted the ship coming home, however, with five birdies on the back, including three straight beginning on the par-three fourth hole.

"I hit bad tee shots, quite a lot today, but my putting was good enough to make it," said Ryu. "I made quite a lot of birdies after I made three bogeys so I'm happy with 67 today."

Ryu finished with a 13-under 131 and has a one-shot lead over Germany's Sandra Gal and Sakura Yokomine of Japan, who both shot 64 at the Blythefield Country Club course in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Caroline Masson shot a six-under 66 and is alone in fourth at 11-under 133.

Ryu is hoping that a good performance in Grand Rapids will earn her a spot on South Korea's four-person team for the upcoming UL International Crown tournament. 

"I played 2014 and 2016 (UL) International Crown and I know how cool the tournament is going to be," she said.

Lee-Anne Pace, Anna Nordqvist and Oh Su-Hyun are just three back of Ryu at 10-under. 

Yokomine and Gal shot identical numbers for the second consecutive round to get to 12-under.

The 32-year-old Yokomine is aiming for her first title on the USLPGA Tour but she is no stranger to winning, having claimed 23 career victories on the Japan tour.

Her bogey-free second round included five birdies on the front and three more on her closing nine.

Gal, who needed just 25 putts on Friday, is working with a new coach and it is paying off.

"It's nice to see when you're making the birdies and you see your name at the top," said Gal, whose lone win on US Tour came in 2011 at the Kia Classic. "It's fun when you're in contention for the weekend. It's great."

World number two Ariya Jutanugarn played through the pain of a sore back to shoot a two-under 70. She is tied for 32 at five-under with her sister Moriya and former Women's PGA Championship winner Brooke Henderson of Canada.

"It's okay," said Ariya, of Thailand. "My back was hurting a little, but I should be fine." 

New Zealand star Lydia Ko equalled her best round of the year with a five-under 67 and is tied for 12th at eight-under with a half dozen others.

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