Chilli-hot Green rockets to LPGA lead

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Fresh from her runner-up finish at the LA Open, Hannah Green has maintained her hot streak on the LPGA Tour to snatch the lead midway through the Palos Verdes Championship.

The West Australian fired a five-under 66 on Friday in the second round to be nine-under for the tournament, opening up a three-shot lead over a posse that includes overnight leader Minjee Lee.

Rebounding from consecutive bogeys the day before in gusting wind to birdie the two late par 5s on Friday, Green has seized the initiative in the first-year event that wraps up the west coast swing.

"Hopefully, I can keep as many bogeys off the scorecard and keep making birdies," Green said. "I think there will be some low scores."

Apart from coming second to Nasa Hataoka on Sunday at Whilshire Country Club, Green has two other top-eight finishes this season - tying for sixth in Singapore and tying for sixth at Mission Hills in the first major of the year.

"I'm excited to see what the weekend brings," Green said. "I think they're going to maybe change the course setup, maybe make things a bit more drivable.

"It'll be good. I'm excited. Always nice to play in the last group and playing last weekend, I think that helps as well."

The Australian birdied the first three holes and five of the first seven in her afternoon round, then dropped strokes on the par-4 12th and downhill par-3 13th. She got the shots back with birdies on 14 and 16 and closed with two pars to finish at nine-under 133.

"It was a really nice start," Green said." I feel like as soon as you have wedge in your hand you want to make a birdie, and managed to get another couple birdies coming in on the front nine.

"I knew the back nine was going to be quite difficult with the wind picking up and getting a little bit gusty."

Green has birdied all three par 5s each day. She won both of her LPGA Tour titles in 2019, taking the major KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Hazeltine and the Portland Classic.

Compatriot Lee followed her opening 63 with a 73 to drop into a tie for second with top-ranked Jin Young Ko (72), Lydia Ko (67) and Megan Khang (69).

The fourth-ranked Lee eagled the par-5 seventh and had four bogeys. She tied for third at Whilshire.

Jin Young Ko had a double bogey on the fifth and just one birdie. Last week, she stumbled to a tie for 21st after sharing the lead late in the third round.

Lydia Ko had an early double bogey on the par-3 13th and eagled the seventh.

Anna Davis, the Augusta National Women's Amateur winner, made the cut in first LPGA Tour start, shooting 71-72.

The 16-year-old from San Diego received a sponsor's exemption.

Australians Katherine Kirk (even), Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith (both one over) made the two-over cut.

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