Laura Diaz maintains lead at Marathon Classic _lowres

Associated Press photo by RICK OSENTOSKI -- Laura Diaz tees off on the ninth hole during the second round of the Marathon Classic tournament at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio, Friday, July 18, 2014.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Laura Diaz almost chose to walk away from golf to spend more time at home with her family.

Now she’s making the decision to juggle both jobs seem like a shrewd move.

“I love being a mom; it’s the greatest thing in the world,” she said after following a 9-under 62 with a solid 69 on Friday to maintain a three-shot lead through 36 holes at the Marathon Classic.

“It’s hard for me when I have to choose. So I made a list. My family is first, and then golf comes second and we work everything out in between.”

Chasing her first win since 2002, Diaz is at 11-under 131, three shots ahead of Lee-Anne Pace and Lydia Ko.

Diaz led by four shots over Pace and Austin Ernst after the first round.

She was pleased her game was sturdy enough to hang on to the lead despite being in the heat of contention for the first time in several years.

“It was just a challenge because I haven’t been in this position in a very long time,” Diaz said. “For sure, I haven’t had cameras on me in a long time.”

Public Links

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND SET: In Newton, Kansas, Doug Ghim and Byron Meth won semifinal matches Friday at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and will face off in Saturday’s 36-hole final.

They advanced in opposite manners, with Ghim needing to rally from 3 down to beat Michael Gellerman 1 up. Meth won 6 and 5 over Jess Bonneau.

Southern Amateur

HOSSLER HAS TWO-STROKE LEAD: In Ooltewah, Tennessee, Beau Hossler made an eagle on the ninth hole Friday and finished at 8-under 208 for sole possession of the lead heading into the final round of the 108th Southern Amateur.

Hossler, from Mission Viejo, California, shot a 70 on Friday at The Honors Course for a two-stroke advantage over Trevor Cone of Concord, North Carolina. Hossler begins his sophomore year at Texas this fall. Cone golfs for Virginia Tech.