Unheralded Martin leads through 36 at W. British


An American is leading the Women’s British Open. No surprise considering U.S. players have claimed each of the season’s first two majors. The shocker is that it’s Mo Martin out front. The third-year LPGA player shot 3-under 69 on Friday, complete with five birdies and two bogeys. Here’s how things stand after two rounds at Royal Birkdale:

Leaderboard: Mo Martin (-6), Beatriz Recari (-3), So Yeon Ryu (-3), Sun-Ju Ahn (-2), Julieta Granada (-2), four others tied at 1 under.

What it means: Martin has a chance to become the most unheralded American major champion on the women's side since Hilary Lunke at the 2003 U.S. Open. Martin, a 31-year-old Californian, has one top-10 in 63 career LPGA starts. There are still 36 holes to play, but she was impressive Friday. After back-to-back bogeys early on the back nine, she steadied herself to play the final six holes in 2 under. Martin is ranked 99th in the world.

Round of the day: Recari and Ahn both shot 5-under 67 on Friday, the low scores through two rounds of the tournament. The slight edge for ROD goes to Recari, however, as this was her first sub-70 round on the LPGA since February.

Best of the rest: Martin aside, Ariya Jutanugarn finished eagle-birdie for a 4-under 68 to reach 1 under overall. Honorable mention goes to Lexi Thompson. The Kraft Nabisco champion opened sextuple bogey-bogey (10-5), but played her final 16 holes in 2 under to make the cut.

Biggest disappointment: Michelle Wie. Needing a solid round to get into contention (after opening in 75), she went the other way. Wie had six bogeys, one double and two birdies in a 6-over 78. In her first major since becoming a major champion, Wie (+9) missed the cut by three strokes. Other bummers: Ayako Uehara (overnight leader after a 68, to 79 and nine back), Lydia Ko (76 to drop to +4) and Karrie Webb (79 to miss the cut).

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Can any of the prominent trailers make a move? It’s been a banner year for the LPGA as stars seem to shine every week. Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz and Morgan Pressel are at even par. Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen and Ai Miyazato are at 1 over.