Stacey Lewis shot a 3-under 69 Friday to keep her three-stroke lead after the second round of the LPGA Thailand.
Lewis had five birdies and two bogeys to follow up her 63 Thursday for a 12-under 132 total at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course, replicating her 2012 form that made her the first American to win the LPGA Player of the Year award since Beth Daniel in 1994.
"It's always hard to follow up a really good day. I thought if I could shoot 4 or 5 under that would still be a really solid day. I almost got there but it was kind of up and down — I definitely left a few out there," said Lewis, who is looking for her first title since the 2012 Mizuno Classic. "I didn't hit it as good today, but I made some putts on the back nine and still have a three-shot lead, so I can't complain."
Thai teenager Ariya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 66 in windy and humid conditions to move into second place. The former top-ranked amateur, who won the Ladies European Qualifying School title in December, blamed her putter for missing an eagle chance at the last.
"I just wanted to hit a birdie on 18, which was a difficult hole, but I hit a good approach shot for a chance to make an eagle. I wanted it so much that I miss read the green," said Ariya, who finished second in a Ladies European event in Queensland last month.
Beatriz Recari (68), So Yeon Ryu (68) and Catriona Matthew (69) were tied for third at 8 under, a shot ahead of Se Ri Pak (68) and Lizette Salas (69).
Former champion Ai Miyazato (71), Lydia Ko (71), Jessica Korda (67) and Karrie Webb (71) had a share of ninth place at 4 under. Two-time defending champion Yani Tseng (68) recovered from a 75 on Thursday. She trails Lewis by 11 shots.
Lewis, a five-time LPGA winner, is hoping to learn the lessons from last year when she led at the halfway mark before finishing fifth.
"I think I've gotten a lot more comfortable having the three-shot lead. In the past, you get up and you kind of start protecting a little bit and you realize you still have to go out there and hit shots," she said. "You just have to go out there and play and not worry about what anyone else is doing. I didn't look at many leaderboards today until kind of the last few holes."