Hinako Shibuno leads Chevron Championship midway through second round

Hinako Shibuno of Japan walks on the eighth hole during the second round of The Chevron Championship.
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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Hinako Shibuno shot a 6-under 66 on Friday in the Chevron Championship to take the lead halfway through the second round.

The 23-year-old Japanese player had a 9-under 135 total at Mission Hills, the tree-lined course hosting the major championship for the final time.

Unable to find a sponsor to stay at Mission Hills, the tournament is shifting to Houston next year under a deal with Chevron. The event started in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle and became a major in 1983.

Shibuno had seven birdies and a bogey on the first 13 holes and closed with five pars in warm and sunny morning conditions. She opened with a tap-in birdie on the par-4 first and had another on the par-4 10th.

“That makes it easier to play golf,” Shibuno said through a translator.

The 2019 Women’s British Open winner is sticking with the routine that has worked so far.

“I’m going to do just same thing,” Shibuno said “I’m going to eat and I’m going to sleep.”

Jennifer Kupcho and Minjee Lee, tied for the first-round lead at 66, were in the afternoon group.

Defending champion Patty Tavatanakit (69) and Annie Park (67) were a stroke back.

“I feel like I left a lot out there,” Tavatanakit said. “But at the same time, that’s just golf. There is no way you’re going to have a perfect day with no mistakes. ”

Tavatanakit closed with birdies on the par-3 17th and par-5 18th.

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“I think 17 was definitely a bonus with that pin position,” Tavatanakit said. “I think it kind of got my momentum going, knowing 18 was an up tee, so I know I had a chance to get another birdie.”

Park played by herself the first two rounds with the players grouped in twosomes and an odd number in the field.

“Playing by myself was kind of weird yesterday, but today I kind of got used to it,” Park said. “I think when I made the turn and started waiting on players in the group in front of me, kind of just started to feel like normal golf.”

Nanna Koerstz Madsen (67) and Ally Ewing (68) were 6 under.

Koerstz Madsen has a playoff victory and loss in her last two starts, beating Xiyu Lin three weeks ago in Thailand to become the first Danish winner in LPGA Tour history and losing to Atthaya Thitikul on Sunday in Carlsbad.

“I was very disappointed after Sunday,” Koerstz Madsen said. “But we drove here and we tried to take it as a positive that I was still in the playoff and I was still playing very good golf. But, obviously, it was disappointing.”