South Korea’s Inbee Park shot her second consecutive five-under-par 66 to top the leaderboard ahead of American Stacy Lewis after the second round of the women’s Olympic golf tournament on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Park, who missed two months of the season due to injuries, made five birdies in a bogey-free back nine to take a one-shot lead over Lewis in benign conditions.
“I was in the second to last group and we didn’t have much wind, which is very lucky,” Park told reporters.
“You’ve got to take advantage of those good conditions. We just don’t know what’s going to happen for the next two days.”
Park, however, felt the real challenge was still to come.
“The next two rounds, I think everybody kind of knows the golf course and the real game begins,” the former world number one said.
Twice major champion Lewis, who shot 70 in the opening round, carded a sparkling eight-under-par 63.
“The putter just got hot today. I definitely hit it better today but the putter was on fire. And then I hit some close and made some easy birdies coming in,” the 31-year-old said.
“I actually didn’t know what I shot at the end of the day. I was just kind of in the zone.”
Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Britain’s Charley Hull were also well placed to compete for the first gold medal in women’s golf since 1900 after shooting rounds of 63 and 66 respectively.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who led after the first round on Wednesday, fell down the leaderboard after shooting a second-round 71.
The medals will be awarded after the final round on Saturday.