Evian - Brittany Lincicome squandered a chance to win a second major title at the LPGA Championship last month. But a best of second round 65 put the American in pole position at the halfway stage of the Evian Championship.
Lincicome, 29 next Friday, made light of the trickier second day windy conditions with a flawless six birdie round and a 10-under-par 132 total put her one ahead of Kim Hyo-Joo and three better than Hur Mi Jung.
The Florida golfer led after the second and third rounds at the LPGA Championship - but went on to lose the title in a play-off against South Korea's Park Inbee. Now she hopes to seal the deal and set a second major alongside the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"I felt really at ease today," said the world No.28. "I've had a good few weeks and it's built my confidence. I had a rough couple of years but I'm back just trying to enjoy it and play like a ten year-old again."
A 61 was always going to be a hard act to follow, but 19-year-old Kim stayed close to the top with a battling second-round 72. Hur, a fellow-South Korean, shot 69.
Kim's opening round was the best ever in a major but the blustery conditions set a stiffer test and, starting from the tenth, the three-time winner and money list leader on this season's Korean LPGA Tour was three-over-par for the round at the turn.
She then birdied her 10th and 11th holes and then rebounded from a bogey at the fifth by holing a 21-foot putt for birdie at the final hole.
"I was a little angry with the start today," said Kim. "I went out trying to erase the first round erased from my thoughts. I wanted to treat it as a new day and it still feels good to be right up there."
Hur had five birdies in her two-under round. "I played well today," said the player who has only won once on the LPGA Tour, as a rookie in the 2009 Safeway Classic. "It was chilly at first and that made it tricky."
Defending champion Suzann Pettersen also stayed in the hunt with a 69 for six-under-par, the same mark as the former world No. 1 Karrie Webb, who had shot 71. Current world No.1 Stacy Lewis was another shot back on four- under following a 67.
Ryu So Yeon, the 2011 US Women's Open Champion, was disqualified. She damaged her putter on the 4th hole by slamming it against her shoe and bending the shaft of the club - thus changing its playing characteristics.
The South Korean, who had opened with a 70, subsequently used the club to tap in her ball. This is a violation of rule 4-3b - using a club that was damaged other than in the normal course of play.