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Rory McIlroy will miss the European Tour BMW PGA Championship due to rib injury. McIlroy is hoping to return in time for the 117th U.S. Open.
USA TODAY Sports

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Lexi Thompson shot her second straight 6-under 65 on Friday to take a three-stroke over playing partner Gerina Piller into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship.

Thompson is playing her third tournament since losing the major ANA Inspiration in a playoff after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation that a TV viewer spotted.

“I feel great with where my game is at,” Thompson said. “I am just trying to keep my thoughts very simple, focus on doing my routine and picking small targets out and committing to my shots. If I do that, my game is in a good spot.”

The long-hitting Florida player had six birdies in a bogey-free round on Kingsmill’s River Course. She waited out a rain delay in the middle of the round.

“Always stalls you a bit,” Thompson said. “Wasn’t too loose on the first iron shot that I hit, but, it was a beautiful day out. Not much wind. Hopefully, we get some good weather this weekend.”

Piller shot a 67, closing birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey. Winless on the LPGA Tour, she chipped in for her birdie on 17.

“I feel like my putting is really great right now,” Piller said. “Just excited for tomorrow. … Hit the fairway, hit the green, make the putt. Keeping it as simple as possible.”

Piller will play alongside U.S. Solheim Cup teammate Thompson again Saturday.

“She’s a great ball-striker and hits it far,” Piller said. “This course definitely suits the long-ball hitters, especially now. The greens are firming up and getting a little quicker. To have a shorter iron in is definitely an advantage.”

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