Chien leads with four; Lexi makes first cut since June

CINCINNATI – Taiwan’s Peiyun Chien holed out for eagle on the sixth hole and went bogey-free Friday for an 8-under 64 to build a four-shot lead in the Kroger Queen City Championship as she bids for her first LPGA Tour win.

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 come back to Asia, play the Asian Games for my country,” said Chien, who shot to the halfway mark at 14-under 130 at Kenwood Country Club.

Ruoning Yin of Chinawho captured her first major this summer at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, also went bogey-free for a 66 that left her four shots behind 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 rankings, which would allow her to join Shanshan Feng as the only players from China to top the rankings.

Chien attributed her great round to her putting. She said she prefers to change putters every week and is proud that she has kept this one in play for at least a month. It is a good weapon to have on the Kendale course, which has firm and fast greens from dry weather.

Liu was also excellent with the putter, as she should be. She didn’t hit the ball as well as she did Thursday when she shot a 65, but she hit plenty of putts for par to stay close, then finished her round with a shot out of the fairway bunker to 12 feet for birdie.

Former US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso (66) and Charley Hull from England (68) was five shots behind.

Rose Zhang had a 68 and was eight shots behind.

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 was her lowest score of the year in individual stroke play.

This is Thompson’s last event before the Solheim Cup in Spain on the 22nd-24th September. US Women’s Open champion Allisen Corpuz had another 72 to miss the cut, along with American Solheim Cup player Cheyenne Knight, who had a 73.

Lynn Grant by Sweden shot 71 and missed the cut ahead of his 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, then hitting the hazard and making a double bogey on the 18th hole. Everything else in the middle was sharp.

“It’s crazy for sure,” Delacour said. “I don’t even know how many birdies I made all day. As a golfer, you don’t want to start with a double and finish with a double. That’s why I’m a little upset about my round. But at the end of the day, it’s still under par. I’m still near the top of the rankings so I still have a chance for the weekend.”

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