The time had come for Sarah Burnham to quit playing scared.
The Maple Grove native fired a 5-under-par 66 on Friday, moving to even-par 142 and into a tie for 14th place following the second round of the U.S. Women's Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. She is six strokes back of leader Yuka Saso of the Philippines, who shot a 67. Saso will turn 20 on June 20.
"It was a great day," Burnham said in a text to the Star Tribune. It was her second-best round — she shot a 6-under 66 in the Indy Women in Tech Championship in 2019 — during her three years on the LPGA Tour. "I was able to move up the leaderboard by staying in fairways and hitting greens."
Burnham had six birdies and one bogey during the round. It came on the heels of a 5-over 76 on Thursday.
"I was more nervous, scared in the first round," said Burnham, making her second appearance in the Open, the first coming as an amateur in 2015. "Today, I got after it and played more relaxed. Not playing scared made a big difference."
She was also aided by a morning tee time.
"The wind really picks up in the afternoon, and makes the course tougher to play," Burnham said. "You have to keep the ball in the fairways because the rough is so long."
Her vault up the leaderboard earned her an afternoon tee time for Round 3.
"The first round I was hoping not to make mistakes on my shots," Burnham said. "I have to stay more aggressive and play really smart."
Another Minnesotan, 17-year-old amateur Isabella McCauley of Inver Grove Heights, also improved 10 strokes from the first to the second round. She carded a 1-under 70 after a disappointing 80 in her initial round. She missed the cut, tying for 97th place at 150. ►The field of 150 golfers was trimmed to ?? after the second round. ◄Another 17-year-old amateur, first-round co-leader Megha Ganne of New Jersey, was tied for second after shooting a 71.