Ruffels, Kirk make LPGA major move

Australians Gabriela Ruffels, Katherine Kirk and Minjee Lee are among those to post low scores in the second round of the LPGA's major - the ANA Inspiration.

MINJEE LEE of Australia.
MINJEE LEE of Australia. Picture: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Former Australian No.1 junior tennis player Gabriela Ruffels traded her racquet for a golf club five years ago and her sublime skills were for all to see in Rancho Mirage on Friday.

The 2019 US Women's Amateur champion mixed it with the best at the LPGA's major - the ANA Inspiration - when she shot a four-under 68 in the second round to be just six behind leader Nelly Korda.

The 20-year-old Ruffels, sister of professional golfer Ryan Ruffels, carded five birdies with a lonesome bogey to sit seventh, alongside compatriot Katherine Kirk.

Kirk's five-under round was bettered only by Korda and equalled by third-placed Lexi Thompson and Angel Yin.

One shot behind Kirk and Ruffels is Minjee Lee, who posted a three-under round.

Major champion Hannah Green is one-under overall after shooting a disappointing second-round 74.

Korda is the one to catch after her 67 gave her a two-stroke lead over Mirim Lee, heading into the third round.

The 22-year-old American, who began the day one stroke ahead of Chun In-gee of South Korea and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, made five birdies and sank putts from 20 feet on the second and 25 feet on the third to remain bogey free across the round.

Korda, who fired a first-round 66 on Thursday, moved to 11-under 133 for the tournament, taking a 36-hole lead into the weekend of a major for the first time in her career.

"I did not know what I was doing on those two holes," Korda said. "My caddie Jason just said, okay, take a deep breath right now, so I was happy those two went in.

"Golf is just all about momentum, so you roll one in here and there and it just makes it a lot easier."

South Korean Lee, who began the round in 19th, made seven birdies and also remained bogey-free as she surged up the leaderboard to second spot.

American Lexi Thompson and Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen are tied for third, four shots behind Korda.

The conditions are less than ideal at Rancho Mirage, with temperatures expected to soar above 37.8degC during the tournament.