Leona Maguire in touch as Bailey Tardy leads US Women’s Open

Bailey Tardy hits from the 15th tee during the second round of the US Women’s Open (Godofredo A Vasquez/AP)
Bailey Tardy hits from the 15th tee during the second round of the US Women’s Open (Godofredo A Vasquez/AP)

Ireland’s Leona Maguire remained in the hunt for her first major title as Pebble Beach bared its teeth on the second day of the US Women’s Open.

Maguire is tied for fifth on one-under-par, one of just six players under par at the halfway stage as American Bailey Tardy opened a two-stroke lead.

Out early, Tardy took advantage of the conditions before the wind got up as she included four birdies and an eagle in her 68 that leaves here on seven-under par – two clear of fellow American Allisen Corpuz and Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea.

Tardy said: “It was not as windy on my front nine as the back nine. Definitely took advantage of that.

US Womens Open Golf
Leona Maguire, of Ireland, chips to the 14th green during the second round of the US Women’s Open golf tournament at the Pebble Beach Golf Links (Godofredo A. Vásquez, AP)

“Then just was able to hold on, I guess, through the wind.”

Maguire had a slow start with four dropped shots in her opening five holes, but finished strongly with two birdies to keep herself in the mix going into day three.

She said: “I had a lot of really good up-and-downs to sort of keep me in it, but didn’t really play my best golf today. Didn’t hit enough greens, and that kind of made things a little bit difficult.”

England’s Charley Hull birdied her last three holes to move into the top 12 on one-over-par to lie alongside Irish amateur Aine Donegan and rookie sensation Rose Zhang, who won on her professional debut after a stellar college career.

Among those missing the cut were world number one Jin Young Ko and major champions Jennifer Kupcho, England’s Georgia Hall, Lexi Thompson and Lilia Vu.

In emotional scenes former champions Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie West ended their regular tour careers after failing to make the cut.

The 52-year-old Swede, a 10-time major winner – three of which were US Opens – was playing on a special exemption in the same group as former teenage prodigy and 2014 champion Wie West.

“It was just great to come down here the last few holes just feeling welcome and appreciated and having the family here and friends,” said Sorenstam, who still plans to play in the Women’s Senior Open.

“Having said that, I know this is my last one, but it’s been great to be here.”

The 33-year-old Wie West, who as a 13-year-old became the youngest player to make the cut at the US Women’s Open, held back the tears in her final 18 holes before retirement.

“It was great to have my last round here at Pebble Beach. Last year I had this (tournament) in the back of my mind, and I don’t have another one of these in the back of my mind. It definitely feels surreal right now,” she said.