US Women’s Open: Hinako Shibuno takes lead as Charley Hull slips back


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England's Charley Hull plays a shot during her second round at the 2020 US Women's Open
Charley Hull is now seven shots behind leader Hinako Shibuno
-7 H Shibuno (Jpn); -4 L Grant (Swe); -3 A Olson, M Khang, K Papp (all US); -2 A Buhai (SA), M Jutanugarn, A Jutanugarn (both Tha), Y Saso (Phi), S Lewis, S Schmelzel, C Kerr, L Weaver (all US)
Selected others: Level C Hull, J Ewart Shadoff (both Eng), Jeong-eun Lee6 (Kor); +3 B Law (Eng); +7 G Hall, M Reid (both Eng)

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno took the lead after round two of the US Women’s Open as England’s Charley Hull slipped back.

Shibuno, the 2019 Women’s Open champion, shot a four-under 67 to move to seven under overall in Houston.

She leads Swedish amateur Linn Grant by three strokes, with overnight leader Amy Olson a shot further back.

Olson’s fellow Americans Megan Khang and amateur Kaitlyn Papp are also in the tie for third on three under.

With the tournament being staged in December for the first time, concerns over daylight meant the first two rounds were played over two courses at the Champions club.

Shibuno, playing on the Jackrabbit course on Friday, made six birdies and two bogeys for the lowest round of the day but the 22-year-old said she was “not really confident at all”.

“It feels like this is not myself,” she said, adding it was “strange” to be playing the event behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Second-round tee times were also brought forward because of heavy rain and wind forecast later in the day, with many players struggling in the conditions.

Olson, who shot 67 in the opening round, remained four under overall until she double-bogeyed the 15th before reclaiming one shot with a birdie at the last on Jackrabbit.

Hull, 24, played her second round on the Cypress Creek course and endured an inconsistent day.

The world number 34 started with four straight birdies before three consecutive bogeys to close out the front nine. She had one birdie, two bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine.

Ewart Shadoff, 32, carded three birdies and two bogeys in her one-over round of 72 on the Jackrabbit.

Reigning champion Jeong-eun Lee6 is also in a share of 20th with Hull and Ewart Shadoff.

World number one Ko Jin-young is a shot further back on one over after a round of 70.

England’s Bronte Law and Women’s Open champion Sophia Popov just made the cut at three over.

But former Women’s Open champion Georgia Hall, 24, will miss the weekend after finishing on seven over, alongside fellow Englishwoman Mel Reid.

Hall shot a bogey-free three-under 68 but it was not enough to make up for a disappointing opening round of 81.

The tournament, which has a $1m winners’ cheque (around £744,000), was scheduled to take place in June but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

About Frank Rideout