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Park in Solo First at U.S. Women's Open
The unerring consistency of Inbee Park continued in the second round of the U.S. Women's Open. The 24-year-old followed up her opening 5-under 67 with a 68 to take a two-stroke lead in the LPGA Tour's third major of the year, which is taking place at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
Park has already won the season's first two majors and seeking to become the first player since Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1950) as the only woman to win the initial three majors of the year.
Park, who has a total of five wins in 2013 - including last week's Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, carded six birdies and two bogeys to reach 8-under 136, two strokes ahead of fellow South Korean I.K. Kim, who shot a 69.
Soon after Park - who played for the second straight day with No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis and No. 3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway -finished the 18th hole USGA officials canceled the rest of the round as fog descended on Sebonack and greatly limited visibility. Park capped her 68 with a birdie on the par-5 closer.
American Lizette Salas carded a 72 to get to 4-under 140, five behind Park. Also at that number is England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who was 2-under through 15 holes before heading to the clubhouse for the day.
Salas opened with a 68 but couldn't make much headway Friday. "I'm not as pleased with (the round) just because I was striking the ball very well. At the same time you have to look at the bright side, and you have to take into effect the wind and the weather, how it's a completely different golf course.
"I was still hitting my targets and, even though the putts didn't fall, I still was confident over every shot and, you know, I really wanted to make birdie on the last hole," added the 23-yeaer-old Californian. "You just can't be too greedy out here. Just hitting fairways, hitting greens, that was my goal. Eventually the putts will drop."
Two Americans, Angela Stanford (68) and Jessica Korda (71), are tied for fifth at 141. The 35-year-old Stanford, a five-time LPGA winner, knows she has her work cut out to catch Park. "I'm trying to be smarter," the Texan said of her current approach. "But these younger kids now, I mean, they hit the ball farther; they are more mature and they are smarter about the game.
"They're just a lot better than when I was 18 to 22. But I still have a passion for the game, and I think that's what helps me hang around these kids. I still love playing - just got a few more years on them."
Sharing seventh at 142 are So Yeon Ryu (69) of South Korea and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist, who opened with a 68 but shot 74 Friday.
After ascending to the first-round lead with a 66, Ha-Neul Kim ballooned to a 77 to fall down to 1-under 143. Also at that number in ninth place is Swede Caroline Hedwall, who is 3-over through 14 holes and will return Saturday to complete her round.
Defending champion Na Yeon Choi started with a 71, but was 4-over through 16 holes in the second round before the suspension of play.
New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko opened with a 72 but was plus-3 through 16 holes. The 16-year-old amateur from New Zealand will face a par-5 and a par-4 Saturday morning and, without a blowup on those two holes, should make the cut.
Lewis posted a disappointing 76 that included five bogeys and a lone birdie and is at 3-over 147. Pettersen had six bogeys for a 78; she opened with a 76. The 32-year-old from Oslo carded only three birdies against 11 bogeys and a double over 36 holes.
Many players still need to complete their second rounds. The overnight projected cut is 5-over 149. Among those likely to miss the weekend are Hall of Fame member and two-time U.S. Women's Open champion Juli Inkster, who shot a 79 after a 72 on Thursday.
Michelle Wie didn't generate enough birdies to offset her opening 8-over 80. The 23-year-old Hawaiian was at 3-over par through 17 holes in the second round.
For all the scores, visit www.lpga.com.
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