Aditi Ashok of India made an eagle that helped her to the lead, but she credited her putter.
The 25-year-old Ashok, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, shot a one-under-par 71 to take a one-stroke lead over Cheyenne Knight, Hannah Green of Australia and Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden heading to the third round of the JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.
“I think the last three weeks, I couldn’t lean on my putting as much,” said Ashok, who said she went to a new putter this week. “It’s a similar blade. It’s just much lighter. The other one was just too heavy for me, and I ended up leaving a bunch of them short. I have a lighter one at home, but it’s in India, so I had to go to Callaway and they made me the same Odyssey putter that I had, just lighter, so that’s the only difference.
“I just know I made a couple bad swings, and you drop shots when you do that. “Making no worse than bogey was good. I still feel like a couple other bogeys on the back nine, which was the front nine for me, that was not really ideal. I feel like I bogeyed No. 7 with a wedge. With wedge you’re looking at birdie, so that was I guess giving away a shot, but apart from that, it was good.”
Ashok, who has won four times on the Ladies European Tour, slam-dunked her third shot from 85 yards for an eagle from the fairway on the par-five 15th hole and added four birdies in her round to record a 36-hole score of six-under-par 136.
Green had four birdies in her 69, while Knight had five birdies in another 69 and Lindberg had four birdies in a 70.
“I think because I’ve had good history here, that definitely helps with my confidence, as it probably hasn’t been as high since the start of the year,” said Green, who two top-three results in Los Angeles events and nine victories in her pro career, including two on the LPGA Tour, including the 2019 KMPG Women’s PGA Championship.
“So it’s nice to come back to a familiar place. I think the golf course is really good. The food is great in L.A. I have a lovely host family that I’ve been with the last six years. It’s just a really nice environment to be in.”
Sarah Kemp of Australia made three birdies on the back nine in a 68 and is two shots behind in a tie for fifth with Linnea Storm of Sweden, who birdied four of the last six holes in a 70, and Alison Lee of Los Angeles and UCLA, who made a late birdie in a 71.
Ayaka Furue of Japan made only one bogey in her 70 and is three down in a tie for eighth with first-round leader Linnea Johansson, who struggled to a 75, Yuna Nishimura of Japan, who had four birdies in a 71, and Hea Ran Ryu of Soother Korea, who finished at 72.
Top-ranked Nelly Korda had three birdies and three bogeys in a 71 and is in a tie for 12th that includes third-ranked Jin Young Ko of South Korea, who made three birdies on the back nine in a 68, while sixth-ranked Minjee Lee of Australia is tied for 22nd after struggling to a 76.
Fifth-ranked Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand made three late birdies to salvage a 73 and is in a tie for 44th that includes 10th-ranked Georgie Hall of England, who had a 71 that included only one birdie.
Eighth-ranked Brooke Henderson finished at 70-74—144 to miss the cut by one stroke, while ninth-ranked Celine Boutier of France shot 75-47—145 to miss the weekend by two shots.
For complete results, visit https://www.lpga.com/tournaments/jm-eagle-la-championship/leaderboard