The time had come for Sarah Burnham to quit playing scared.
The Maple Grove native and former Wayzata girls' golf standout fired a 5-under-par 66 on Friday, moving up to even-par and into a tie for 12th place as of 5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Women's Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Megan Khang and amateur Megha Ganne are the clubhouse leaders at 4 under.
"It was a great day," Burnham said. It was her second best round — she shot a 6-under-par 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, a two-time Big Ten player of the year at Michigan State, had six birdies and one bogey during the round. It came on the heels of a 5-over-par 76 on Thursday.
"I was more nervous, scared in the first round," Burnham said. It's only her second appearance in the U.S. 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 will push her back to an afternoon tee time for round three.
"The first round I was hoping not to make a mistakes on my shots," Burnham said. "I have to stay more aggressive and play really smart."
Fellow Minnesotan Isabella McCauley. a 17-year-old amateur from Inver Grove Heights, also improved 10 strokes from the first to the second round. She carded a 1-under-par 70 after a disappointing 80 in her initial round. At 8 over for the tournament she will miss the cut but heads back to Minnesota with an under-par major accomplishment.