Chun shoots 69 to lead by 6 at Women’s PGA

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BETHESDA, Md. — In Gee Chun shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to increase her lead to six strokes halfway through the Women’s PGA Championship.

Chun led by five after the first round, equaling the biggest 18-hole advantage in the history of women’s major championships. The Congressional Country Club course was a bit more forgiving Friday, and she began with three birdies in the first five holes.

Bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, however, kept her from opening a even bigger lead,

Lydia Ko (67) and Jennifer Kupcho (68) were second. Kupcho took the first major of the season in early April in the California desert and won a playoff Sunday in Michigan for her second LPGA Tour title.

After wet conditions for the first round brought the course’s length into focus, it was a clear, warm day Friday. Ko’s impressive performance set the tone early on. Like Chun, Ko is trying for her third major title and first since 2016.

Lexi Thompson matched Ko with a 67 of her own, highlighted by an eagle when she holed out a wedge from 102 yards on the par-4 17th.

“I took one more club extra to control the spin,” Thompson said. “I had spun back a good amount of shots. So I tried to take one more and chip it, and I ended up spinning it back. It was still really going fast with the spin, but ended up going in. I just went off the crowd because we can’t see anything from down there.”

U.S. Women’s Open champ Minjee Lee (68) was with Thompson at 3 under.

Although there were far more birdies on day two than on Thursday, even the top players had their problems. After reaching 11 under par, Chun missed the green on the par-3 seventh and took a bogey. Then on No. 8, a 245-yard par 4, her tee shot went into the thick rough on the edge of a greenside bunker.

Chun punched out of it backwards, then failed to get up and down for par.

Still, those were her only two bogeys of the round, and she’s kept the field at arm’s length. Hye-Jin Choi and Pornanong Phatlum both shot 72 after first-round 69s. They now trail by eight.

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