Kirk, who has enjoyed a good record at the event in recent years having finished 10th and 3rd in her last two visits, recovered from dropped shots at her opening two holes to reach 2 under through 10 holes before closing out with a homeward nine of even par and her round of 1 under.
Australia’s recently crowned major champion, Hannah Green, began with three bogeys in her opening four holes and double-bogeyed the last but, in between, there were four birdies and at 1 over she is tied for 52nd alongside Sarah Kemp.
Su Oh had 74 but the surprise of the day as far as the Australians were concerned was the round of 75 by Minjee Lee who was already battling when a triple bogey at her 17th hole now has her likely needing an under-par round tomorrow to make it to the weekend.
The leader is Paula Creamer who won this event on debut as a 19-year-old and prior to the then Evian Masters becoming a major.
Creamer had a fine record in the event until her form generally dropped away in recent years but a revamp of her approach on the greens has paid dividends in recent weeks and she has rekindled her love affair with the venue.
“I've been kind of changing my putting a lot the last several months, said the leader. “I got that putter in Kingsmill and literally walked over to the bag and picked it out of it.
“Then I would say Arkansas was really when I went to more of a split stance, my left foot behind. I've started AimPoint as well. I started AimPoint after -- I believe it was after ShopRite I had my first lesson.
“It seems to be working well. I've picked it up pretty quickly. You still have to practice it a lot. It's not something that just kind of comes to you. I've been working really hard on that, like every day pretty much.”
Creamer leads by one over Brittany Altomare, Inbee Park, Jin Young Ko and Mi Hyang Lee.
World number one Sung Hyun Park is tied for 8th at 4 under and three shots from the lead.
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