Golf

Catriona Matthew and Charley Hull one stroke apart in Alabama

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Catriona Matthew retained her spot at the top of the Airbus LPGA Classic leaderboard with a fine 67 to back up her Thursday 64 and maintain her one-shot lead over young teenage sensation Charley Hull. 

Hull, 18, won her first Ladies European Tour event at Lalla Meryem Cup in March and after a superb 67 on Friday, the youngster from Kettering has real hope of securing a breakthrough win in America. 

To do so, though, she will have to overcome Scotland's Matthew who looked in imperious form again as she mixed six birdies with just a solitary bogey to reach 13 under, while Hull - starting on the back nine - made her move coming home as she found five birdies on her inward nine but a disappointing bogey on the ninth, her final hole, meant she trailed by a single stroke heading into the weekend. 

South Korea's Hee Young Park, Swede Anna Nordqvist and America's Jessica Korda were two shots further of on minus 10 in a tie for third, while the in-form Lexi Thompson sat alongside Korean Jenny Shin at nine under. 

For the moment, however, all eyes will be on the British duo at the top who have both easily manoeuvred themselves around the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Crossings Course in Mobile, Alabama. 

Having said that, Matthew has not tasted victory on the LPGA Tour since her Lorena Ochea Invitational victory four years ago, while Hull has never won in the USA. 

That is only a matter of time, and Hull was happy with her game post-round: "I'm hitting it pretty straight. Hit my irons good and holing some good putts.

"Missing a few putts, but you're always going to miss a few putts when you're playing well. But I'm just excited about this golf course. I quite like it."

Hull sealed her first professional in Morocco in March, four days before turning 18, and did so in fine style by closing with an incredible 62 before sealing her maiden title at the first extra hole. 

And the Englishwoman was relaxed as ever about her chances this weekend despite the hot conditions.

"The weather's been pretty hot, but I quite like it," Hull said. "I think it's a great place and it's very green and a bit different than I expected. The trees are a lot different, but I enjoy it a lot."

Her chances will not have been done any harm by Inbee Park's failure to make the cut - her first missed cut since May last year - after the Korean slumped to a back-nine 40 for a 76 to go with her 74 on Thursday. 

There is still plenty of golf left to play, but Hull and Matthew have laid the foundations for a first British win in the States this season. 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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