Top-ranked Lydia Ko missed the cut for just the second time in her LPGA Tour career on Friday at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.
Ko, who is the defending champion, bogeyed two of her final three holes and three-putted the 18th to finish on the wrong side of the cutline for just the second time in 91 LPGA Tour starts. The 19-year-old finished at 2-over par to miss the cut by one stroke, marking the first time she failed to advance since the 2015 KMPG Women's PGA Championship.
While Ko had her struggles, Cristie Kerr (9-under) claimed a one-stroke lead after shooting a 3-under 69 in the second round to break free from a three-way tie with Mo Martin and South Korean In Gee Chun at the Aviara Golf Club.
Kerr holds the slim lead over South Korean Mirim Lee and Martin, with South Korea's Mi Jung Hur, Frenchwoman Karine Icher and Americans Austin Ernst and Jackie Stoelting all residing at 6-under.
Kerr threatened to pad her lead, but bogeys on two of the final four holes brought her back to the pack.
"I think it's a course that demands a lot of you. When you hit a bad shot you have to be able to recover and really stay focused the whole day," Kerr said. "It was a very long day. I feel like my focus left me a little bit at the end, but I played really well."
Ko, however, sang a much different tune as she lamented both her putting as well as her drives.
"I tried my best out there to hopefully put myself in better position going forward, but I can't do anything about it," Ko said.
Canadian Brooke Henderson joined Ko with an early exit after finishing at 5-over par through 36 holes. The Canadian missed the cut for the first time since the NW Arkansas Championship last season.
Martin, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs, overcame a bogey on the sixth hole with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to highlight her 2-under-par performance.
"The bogey, I had a big ball mark and these Poa greens get super bumpy in the afternoons, and it just stuck in the ball mark and went left," Martin said. "I mean, I didn't take that too personally. That happens out here, especially in the afternoon, especially on a Friday after you have the whole field in front of you on the Poa greens. And then, yeah, it was fun to rally and obviously great to finish with a couple birdies."