HERSHEY, Pa. -- Such was the second-round play in the Lady Key- stone Open that first-round leader Brandie Burton could shoot 1-under-par 71 and stretch her lead to two strokes.
Burton's round, helped immeasurably by two late birdies, left her at 5-under-par 139. Julie Larsen, a second-year pro, handled the pressure of her first last-group pairing for 72 and a total of 141.
Laura Davies jumped into contention when she shot 66 under ideal morning weather conditions to be at 142. It was a figure matched by Betsy King, who birdied the 17th hole to finish at 72.
Baltimorean Tina Barrett is one of only four other players to complete two rounds under par. At even par for 11 holes, she had three three-putts coming in, then made a great 20-foot uphill save at the last green for 69-74--143.
"It was a struggle," Barrett said of a round that included three birdies and five bogeys. I didn't hit as many greens as the first day, but I felt like I drove it better."
The others at 1 under par are Donna Andrews (71); Val Skinner, who marred her round with a double bogey at 14 (73); and Pearl Sinn (72). Early contender Jennifer Myers also had a double bogey on 14 and finished at 76-145.
The cut fell at 152, highest of the year, and 74 players will play the last round. "It played very tough out there [in the afternoon], as the wind was gusting and swirling," said Burton, 21, who has been in contention several times this year, finishing third twice.
"The greens were hard and tough to hold," she said. "I didn't have any three-putts, but I had some good par-saving ones.
"For tomorrow [today], I'll have to think a little better out there. I need to hit a few more fairways."
Two chip shots to inside of 5 feet set up birdies at the back-to-back par 5s, the 15th and 16th, to get her to 5-under par.
Larsen, 30, backed by a career of mini-tours and foreign tournaments prior to qualifying for the LPGA tour in the fall of 1991, did not fold in the pressure of the last group (with Burton and Barrett). In fact, she made two 20-foot birdie putts to tie Burton for the lead at 4-under at the turn.
Missed greens led to two bogeys on the back nine, but she salvaged her position with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
"I was nervous on the first hole, and I was interested to see how I'd calm down, which I did on the second hole," Larsen said. "You don't try to think about the situation, just play your game."
LTC Even before the leaders teed off, they had a target score, because Davies followed an opening-round 76 with the 6-under-par 66.
"Putting was the difference," said Davies, who won the McDonald's Championship last week. "I had 26 this time, with no three-putts."
A chip-in at the first hole got her started; she got to 7-under par with an eagle (driver, wedge to 8 feet) at the 451-yard, par-5 16th and a 10-foot putt at the 17th, before missing the last green and two-putting from 6 feet.
Aside from Barrett, the other area scorers were Michelle Mackall (formerly of Kensington, 75-76--151; Kim Williams (Bethesda), 76-79--155; Joan Joyce (Woodholme CC professional), 81-83--164; and Troy Beck (Glenn Dale CC professional), 82-84--166.