Golf: Park leads LPGA event by two at halfway mark in Michigan

27 May, 2017 1:22 pm

MICHIGAN – LPGA Tour rookie Sung Hyun Park of South Korea shot a 7-under-par 65 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Park has a two-day total of 12-under, leaving her ahead of Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who shot 67 on Friday, and Minjee Lee of Australia, who fired a 66, both at 10-under par.

Three Americans — Lizette Salas, Cydney Clanton and Jennifer Song — join Shanshan Feng of China and Sarah Jane Smith of Australia, who are all tied for fourth at 9-under.

“I started birdie-birdie on the first two holes and after that I kind of lost it a little bit,” Park said through an interpreter. “But going into the back nine, the first hole, on 10, I made a birdie, and from that point on I think my putting kind of came back alive.”

Park dominated last season on the Korean LPGA, topping the money list with seven victories in 2017. She competed in seven events on the LPGA Tour in 2016 and tied for second at the Evian Championship.

Park has three top-four finishes on the LPGA Tour this year and leads the Rookie of the Year standings.

“I’ve definitely felt the pressure and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I haven’t performed up to my standards this year,” Park said. “This week I’m able to let things go a little bit more and play my game.

“I have a huge expectation being in the final group, being that much closer to winning. But I have a lot of experience playing in the championship groups and I’ll stick with my plan and play my game for the rest of the week.”

Lee, who went out with the early wave of golfers, held the lead for much of the day. She was disqualified from last week’s Kingsmill Championship after failing to sign her scorecard.

“I mean I don’t know how I missed it, but obviously, I did and I got DQ’d. But it’s OK, I can laugh about it now,” Lee said on Thursday. “I played good last week and I know my game’s there.”

Pettersen played in the afternoon and recorded her second straight 67. She was a bit surprised by her scores.

“I usually play good the more tournaments I play, and last week was my first after a little bit of a break,” Pettersen said. “My game is starting to shape up. Playing good golf, hitting a lot of good putts. Just enjoying this golf course.

“If you can be somewhere around the top or within reach, there’s a lot of golf to be played. Obviously a great start the first two days. See if I can finish off a good round tomorrow and then finish off a good round Sunday. But take one day at a time here.”

The cut line was at 1-under par. So Yeon Ryu has the longest active streak of making cuts, dating back to 2014, and she just barely extended that streak, standing at 1-under after a 71 on Friday. –Reuters

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