Kerr crushing course at Kia Classic

Cristie Kerr backed up her sublime opening round of 66 with a solid 69 on Friday at the Kia Classic to hold a one shot lead after 36 holes of action.

Kerr started her day on the back nine and led by as many as three-strokes before getting weary on the inward stretch. All in all she had five birdies and two bogeys.

That was good enough to get her to nine-under-par for the tournament.

“I think it's a course that demands a lot of you,” a drained Kerr said after round two.

“When you hit a bad shot you have to be able to recover and really stay focused the whole day.

“It was a very long day. I feel like my focus left me a little bit at the end, but I played really well.”

She leads by one-stroke ahead of Mo Martin and Mirim Lee.

Among the notables that failed to make the cut was world number one Lydia Ko. The New Zealander opened with rounds of 74 and 72 to miss the cut by one stroke at two-over par. This is just her second missed cut in 91 starts on Tour.

In explaining her low level of play, Ko, who has recently made swing and equipment changes, lamented her ball striking and putting.

“Ball striking wasn't very good today,” the 19-year-old told the media.

“I'm hitting my drives really well, but like the birdie opportunities I had I was missing quite a few of them.

“I was putting so much better today until the last few holes.”