Ewing cards 66, extends Women’s Open lead to 5

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WALTON-ON-THE-HILL, England — Ally Ewing, seeking her first major title, is running away with the Women’s Open championship thanks to precise driving and a red-hot putter.

The No. 39-ranked Ewing rolled in six birdies in her first 11 holes at Walton Heath and shot 6-under 66 on Friday to establish a 5-stroke lead after the second round.

Charley Hull, England’s biggest hope of a home winner, had a bogey-free 68 to join Minami Katsu (69) and Andrea Lee (68) in a three-way tie for second. Another stroke back were Alison Lee (69), Hyo Joo Kim (70), Lilia Vu (68) and Gaby Lopez (70).

Ewing is delivering a golfing clinic three weeks after Brian Harman did the same at Royal Liverpool in the men’s event to win his first major championship.

“I wouldn’t say they were rooting against him, but a lot of people were rooting for other people,” Ewing said of Harman’s win. “I can kind of attest to that in some sense. But, yeah, certainly happy with where I am through 36 holes.”

Ewing is from Mississippi; Harman is from Georgia.

At one stage Friday, Ewing held a 7-shot lead after making four straight birdies from No. 6.

“I didn’t really even know until I signed my scorecard that I had four birdies in a row,” Ewing said, “so I would probably say that stretch from like No. 6 to No. 11 is kind of a little bit of a blur.”

There was another birdie at No. 16 before a bogey at the last, after her worst swing of the day on the 18th tee.

Top-ranked Nelly Korda shot 70 and is 1 under for the tournament. She’s tied with Rose Zhang, the 20-year-old American sensation who shot a 71 in her second round.

Celine Boutier, the Frenchwoman who arrived after back-to-back titles, also shot 71 and was 1 over.

Former top-ranked player Lydia Ko, currently ranked No. 5, shot a 74 and missed the cut.

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