MADEIRA, Ohio − Despite battling an illness and missing the cut in three of her last four events, Peiyun Chien caught fire the first two days of the Kroger Queen City Championship and now sits at the summit of the leaderboard going into the weekend.
Chien, who was 6 under after a 66 in Thursday’s opening round, logged an eagle on the sixth hole Friday.
“The eagle was amazing. I was thinking maybe it would go in because I have a lot of shots (that) almost went in over the last couple weeks, but I’m still waiting for an eagle,” Chien said. “It just happened, so I’m very happy.”
The 32-year-old parlayed that long-awaited eagle with five birdies on the back nine to move atop the leaderboard with a Frida 64 and a two-day total of 130. At 14 under, she leads three golfers by four shots.
She missed the fairway on 17 but got out of the rough and onto the green before sinking a long birdie putt. On the 18th hole, where she suffered her only bogey in the first round, Chien knocked in another long birdie putt to close out a round of 64, her lowest round on the LPGA this year.
“I’ve just putted very well these two days,” Chien said. “I always change my putter. If anyone knows me, I change every week, but I’ve kept the same putter already in eight tournaments, so I’m very happy with myself.”
Chien is 14 strokes better than her 140 two-round total in last year’s inaugural Kroger Queen City Championship, when she missed the cut.
“Last year (in Cincinnati) I didn’t play well because we didn’t have any practice rounds,” Chien said after the first round on Thursday. “I have a lot of notes (for this year) to know how to play the greens.”
Chien missed the cut three times in her last four events but did finish eighth at the ISPS Honda World Invitational in August. Chien, who is ranked 60th in the CME Rankings, is searching for her fourth top-10 finish this season and first career LPGA victory.
“Just every shot, one thing at a time. I really want to play well in America and go back to Asia and play the Asian Games for my country,” Chien said.
Three-way tie for second
World No. 2 Ruoning Yin shot a 6-under 66 to climb to second place after round 2. Yin, 20, posted a bogey-free round and birdied two of the final three holes for her…