Rookie Aditi Ashok produced a stellar round of three-under 68 to be placed sole sixth at the halfway stage of the Marathon Classic on the LPGA at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
This week there is an added incentive for Aditi, as five places into the Ricoh British Open are up for grabs. The top five not otherwise qualified will get a spot into the year s fourth Major. Aditi has already played in the first three and made cut in two of them.
Aditi is now just two behind the lead held by Gerina Piller (63-68) and four players, including Lexi Thompson (65) are in tied second place at 10-under. Four players including Brittany Lincicome (67) are in tied seventh, one shot behind Aditi.
The Indian had four birdies, two on either side of the turn on second, seventh, 15th and 17th and her only dropped shot was 10th.
"I'm feeling good. I think I like the golf course because it sort of suits my game. Greens are pretty small, and you have to hit good approaches, but every time you're on the green, you kind of have a makeable birdie putt, and putting is my strength, so I think that's been working for me, she said.
Since she had not qualified for the Women s British Open, Aditi decided to make the journey to Ohio.
"This week I wasn't actually supposed to play, so when I came here I just took it kind of easy and I practiced not as much as I would have usually practiced like in the last three or four weeks, and that maybe has kind of helped," she told LPGA.
"I knew five girls were going to get the spot (in the British Open), but my goal was just think that you have to be top 5 in the tournament anyway, whether the players ahead of you are already in the British or not.
"Just keep being top 5, because I've been top 10 after a couple days, so this time I was like, okay, I should be closer to the leaders than before, so that was my goal sort of for the tournament and for the British, and it kind of worked out.
"I'm sure I'm in a good spot, but I will keep watching because I think on this course, the afternoon wave gets it a little easier than the morning sometimes, so maybe there will be better scores."
Piller backed up her season-best round on Thursday with another solid one on Friday to get to 11-under par total.
Piller made one bogey on the back nine, her front nine, before bogeying the par-4 2nd. She ran off a string of three-straight birdies after that to close out her day.
A shot back of Piller includes In-Kyung Kim, Peiyun Chien, LPGA Tour rookie Nelly Korda, and winner already this year Lexi Thompson.
A foursome of golfers also sits at 8-under par including Brittany Lincicome, Chella Choi, Sung Hyun Park, and veteran Laura Diaz.