Statistics say Kelly Robbins is a long hitter, one of the longest on the LPGA tour.
The numbers also show uncanny accuracy off the tee and a deft touch on the greens.
It was the latter strength that helped Robbins shoot an 8-under-par 65 on Friday for a two-shot lead midway through the du Maurier Classic, the last of the LPGA’s majors.
Robbins enjoyed a two-stroke lead over Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann, who shot 67 in the second tour of Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario.
Juli Inkster shot a 69 and was alone at 139, three off the pace.
“I usually don’t like hard, short courses because my advantage is my length,” Robbins said. “But what has helped me is that the greens are really holding. I’ve really worked on my consistency in my putting - and here the putting is the key.”
Among the statistical categories, Robbins leads the LPGA in greens hit in regulation - a testament to accuracy rather than length off the tee - birdies (243) and eagles (8).
“It’s growing, it’s the maturity,” Robbins, 27, said. “I decided to spend a lot more time putting and getting a good routine.”
Robbins has won twice already this season and has 10 top-10 finishes. She ranks second in the player of the year standings to Annika Sorenstam, who shot 77 and, at 150, missed the cut.
“If I were in a position to complain, I probably would,” Robbins said. “The greens have been really good for me and I’ve made some long putts.
“But I haven’t been doing anything different.”
Hall of Famer Betsy King, winner of the Dinah Shore, the season’s first major, shot a 69 to join a group at 140. Also 6-under after two rounds was Colleen Walker, one of three who shared the opening-round lead. She shot a 72 on Friday.
Vicki Fergon and Kathryn Marshall, who also had a piece of the 18-hole lead, shot 75s Friday to fall seven strokes back.
Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum, Idaho, shot 69 to share eighth place, five strokes behind the leader.
Also at 143 was defending champion Laura Davies, who got back into the hunt by shooting a 70.
Phil Mickelson, battling for a Ryder Cup berth, set a tournament record to seize the lead midway through the second round in the weather-delayed Sprint International at Castle Rock, Colo.
Mickelson, who scored 14 points in the first round under the modified Stableford scoring system used in this event, added 13 on Friday for a 36-hole total of 27 points.
It was an International record since the tournament went to cumulative scores in 1989; Dan Pohl had the old mark of 24 points in 1992.
Mickelson had a four-point lead over first-round co-leader Larry Mize, who had 23 points.
The scoring system awards five points for an eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.
Play was suspended by darkness with 45 golfers still on the course. Those players were scheduled to complete their second rounds this morning.
Nike Tour veteran Skip Kendall and Neal Lancaster had 22 points. Scott McCarron also was at 22 with two holes left to play. Nick Price finished at 20.
Jay Haas, who shared the first-round lead with Mize, and Stuart Appleby each had 19 points. Tom Lehman, Brad Faxon and Kirk Triplett joined Greg Norman at 18.
After hitting some practice shots in mid-morning, aching Kermit Zarley felt he should have gone home instead of starting in the $1 million BankBoston Senior PGA Golf Classic at Concord, Mass.
A few hours later, he was happy he stuck around. Despite a painful left knee, he held a two-stroke lead with a 6-under-par 66, his best scoring round of the year.
At 68 were Dana Quigley, Rick Acton, Frank Conner, Jerry McGee, John Jacobs and 65-year-old Gay Brewer, who won the Masters 30 years ago.
Hale Irwin, Dan Wood, Larry Mowry, Tony Jacklin, Walt Morgan, Tom Wargo and Jay Sigel were tied at 69.
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