Naples, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlota Ciganda fired a second-round, 5- under 67 on Friday and she joined first-round leader Julieta Granada in the lead heading into the weekend at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Ciganda, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, finished 36 holes tied with Granada at 7-under-par 137. Granada, a one-time winner on tour, carded a 1- under 71 at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Friday.
"It wasn't an easy day out there," said Ciganda. "It was pretty windy. I've been playing good the last couple of months and today my putting was really good. So I'm very happy with my game and really looking forward to the weekend."
Morgan Pressel shot a 6-under 66 to vault into sole possession of third place at 6-under 138. U.S. Women's Open champion Michelle Wie, currently fourth in the season-long Race to the CME Globe, carded a 67 and she is tied for fourth with Sarah Jane Smith (69) and Sandra Gal (71).
World No. 2 Stacy Lewis struggled to a 2-over 74 and she is tied for 15th at 1-under 143. Lewis is still projected to win the Race to the CME Globe. Lewis, world No. 1 Inbee Park (74) and 17-year-old Lydia Ko (71) are the only players who control their own destiny. Lewis, Park or Ko can take home the CME Globe and the $1 million prize with a win this week.
Ciganda, who began the day four shots behind the leader Granada, did not make her move up the leaderboard until the middle of her round. On another windy day, Ciganda poured in four straight pars from No. 1 before draining back-to- back birdies on five and six, getting her into red numbers for the day.
Following a pair of pars on seven and eight, Ciganda made the turn in style with two more birdies on nine and 10. Just like that, Ciganda had her name in the mix.
Ciganda kept going strong on the back nine as she made two more pars on 11 and 12 before making her fifth and final birdie of the day. Ciganda finished strong with five straight pars from No. 14 to join Granada at 7-under through 36 holes.
Granada, who went bogey free in her first round, tripped to a bogey on the second hole. She rebounded right away by making back-to-back birdies on three and four, getting her into red numbers early as well.
After a trio of pars from five, Granada poured in her third birdie of the day on No. 8. That shot was eliminated quickly, however, as Granada tripped to her second bogey on No. 9.
Granada made the turn at 1-under for the day, but she was back to even par three holes later when she bogeyed the par-3 12th. It was smooth sailing from there for Granada as she wrapped five pars from 13 around a gain on the par-4 15th to maintain at least a share of the lead through two rounds.
"I was just picking the wrong lines to start out with. I was missing a little left," Granada said. "I was happy. I made four birdies today, I hang in there and that's all you can hope for."
Pressel was impressive after shooting an even-par 72 on Thursday. Pressel went bogey-free in her second round with three birdies on both the front and back nines to get her name right into contention.
Wie, who was also even par through one round, started off with a bogey on one, but she was on fire from there. Wie made birdies on three and six before draining an eagle on the par-5 seventh. Wie closed out her round with two birdies on the back nine at 14 and 17.
Lewis seemed poised to run away with the CME Globe after finishing the first round tied for third, but three bogeys and just one birdie on No. 17 dropped Lewis down the leaderboard significantly. Lewis narrowly leads Park in both the Race to the CME Globe and the Player of the Year standings.
"I'd be lying if I said they weren't in my head," Lewis said about the possibility of winning the CME Globe and the Player of the Year. "It's up there, you're thinking about it, but at the end of the day it's golf. You have to just try to take the shot at hand. If you don't hit a good one, go get it up-and-down and that's what I just kept telling myself is just keep hanging in there. It was hard for everybody. I'm only I think six shots back of the lead so that's not much on this golf course."
NOTES: Granada's lone victory came at the 2006 ADT Championship ... Wie, So Yeon Ryu, defending champion Shanshan Feng, Anna Nordqvist, Chella Choi and Karrie Webb are the six other players who can win the CME Globe with a victory and some help ... Ko is tied for 10th at 2-under 142, while Park is tied for 37th at 1-over 145 ... Feng (69) is tied for 15th at 1-under 143 ... Lewis leads Park in the Player of the Year standings by three points.