HAVRE DE GRACE, MD. — Anna Nordqvist made a 36-foot birdie putt on the final hole Friday to break a tie with Nicole Castrale and take the lead after two rounds of the LPGA Championship.
Nordqvist, a rookie from Sweden who played at Arizona State, began the day in second place -- one stroke behind Castrale -- and shot a two-under-par 70. Starting on No. 10, Nordqvist birdied three of the first eight holes before losing momentum.
She was two over during a nine-hole stretch before making her 11th birdie of the tournament, on No. 9, to move to eight-under 136.
Castrale stumbled at the outset and charged to the finish while shooting a par 72.
Katherine Hull (69) and Lindsey Wright (68) were six under.
Playing in her first major as a professional, Nordqvist insisted that she felt no pressure on the Bulle Rock course.
"I was just trying to go out there and have fun and enjoy the day," said Nordqvist, who made the cut in the Women's British Open the last two years as an amateur. "Just a lot of patience, hit fairways, hit greens."
Starting her round on No. 10, Castrale parred the first two holes before hitting her tee shot on the par-three 12th hole into the water. She then two-putted from 20 feet.
"Obviously, it wasn't an ideal start, but going into 14 I had made one bad swing," Castrale said.
Hull was delighted to be in the hunt after shooting a second straight 69, but she lamented her lone bogey on No. 6.
"We were actually on the clock and I had to obviously speed up my routine a little," she said. "I didn't have a good feel on the first putt, and I left it maybe four, five feet short. Then I missed the par putt."
That offset a wonderful 35-foot putt for birdie on 18, one Hull described as "a monster."
Lorena Ochoa was five behind Nordqvist after a 69 that included four birdies and several near misses.
"I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. A few putts didn't drop, but I'm happy," said Ochoa, the third-leading money winner on the Tour. "I'm right where I want to be."