Stacy Lewis was inspired seeing Lake Merced Golf Club after her arrival for the Swinging Skirts Classic in San Francisco.
She said it was set up like a major championship test.
Her game is proving up to the challenge.
With a 3-under-par 69 for the second consecutive day, Lewis moved atop the leaderboard Friday in a bid to claim her first title of the 2014 season. At 6-under 138, Lewis is a shot ahead of 17-year-old Lydia Ko (71) and Karine Icher (73).
Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park (68) is just three back as she seeks to claim her first LPGA title of the year.
Rolex world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen (72), making her first start since injuring her back a month ago, is four shots off the lead.
Michelle Wie posted another even-par 72 and is six back.
Lewis has won the last two majors claimed by an American. She won the Kraft Nabisco in 2011 and the Ricoh Women’s British Open last year.
“It’s a U.S. Open,” Lewis said of Lake Merced’s setup after Friday’s round. “You have to hit the ball straight, and you really have to think a lot. That really suits my game more than anything.”
While Lewis has yet to win this year, she gives herself chances just about every time she tees it up. She has finished T-10 or better in 17 of her last 18 worldwide starts going back to last summer.