Last year’s US Open champion Minjee Lee will be Australia’s main challenger for the Amundi Evian Championship over the final 36 holes after the majority of the field encountered a difficult round two in France.
Lee moved up to a share of 12th place in the fourth women’s major of the year after posting an even-par 71, with four birdies and four bogeys, to be 2-under through 36 holes.
Former Vic Open champion Celine Boutier carded a 2-under 69 to claim a one-stroke lead at 7-under 135 for the tournament at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains.
Three other Australians made the halfway cut, which came at 4-over, but will need to go low on day three to challenge for a top-10 spot in the final round. Steph Kyriacou (74-71) and Karis Davidson (73-72) are both at 3-over in a share of 52nd, while Sarah Kemp (73-73) is a shot back in a tie for 75th.
Just 14 players in the field broke par in round two and two of those to struggle were two of Australia’s best hopes – LPGA Tour winners in 2023, Hannah Green and Grace Kim.
Green started the day in a share for 15th place but missed the cut by a shot after battling to a 79, while Kim’s round of 80 left her at 9-over.
Boutier, the Vic Open champion in 2019, holds a one-stroke lead over Patty Tavatanakit (67) of Thailand and Japan's Yuka Saso (69).
The 29-year-old is looking to become the first Frenchwoman to win the tournament, which became a major in 2013.
"It's really great to feel the support from the fans when you play some good shots and some good putts go in," Boutier said.
"This kind of support used to put me under pressure in the past, and I didn't cope well with it, but this year I'm trying to stay very relaxed."