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Park & Pettersen Now Share Lead in Taiwan Championship
First-round leader Inbee Park of South Korea and Norway's Suzann Pettersen are tied for the lead after 36 holes of the $2 million Taiwan Championship. The 72-hole LPGA Tour event began Thursday at Sunrise Golf & Country Club in Yang Mei, Taiwan.
After opening with a 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over defending champion and gallery favorite, Yani Tseng, Park posted five birdies and two bogeys for a 3-under 69 on Friday to reach 10-under 134. Pettersen, who's coming off a win in last week's HanaBank Championship in South Korea, fired a 65 to join Park in the top spot.
The 31-year-old Pettersen carded two birdies on the front nine before reeling off five more coming home. "I played really solid on the front nine," said the Oslo native. "I gave myself three good looks on the first three holes, chipped it in on the fourth, and really just tried to stay aggressive, and when I made the turn, I figured it's time to kind of shift to the fifth gear, and it's nice when the body reacts to your kind of mind game, and really just tried to stay aggressive and firing at the pins."
Park said later she wasn't quite as sharp - especially on the greens - as on Thursday. "I think I had about two short putts missed early in the round," said the 24-year-old. "I mean it was hard to get my momentum going after that.
"And I finally did it and I made four birdies in a row on the front nine and the back nine I just didn't hit it any close. So it was a little bit slow on the back nine, but the last hole just makes everything really forgiving," added Park, who birdied the last.
Sharing third at 136 are Tseng (69) and Scotland's Catriona Matthew (66). Alone in fifth at 138 in the no-cut tournament is American Alison Walshe (67), while tied for sixth at 139 are Spain's Azahara Munoz (68), Paraguay's Julieta Granada (69) and American Cristie Kerr (69).
As usual, Tseng put a positive spin on things. "I played pretty good. Just a couple of shots the distance second shot is not as good as yesterday, and just I think I need to be more committing on the shot and hitting the ball, and today my iron is not as good as yesterday, so I think it's more like wind and the distance. So tomorrow I'll stay the same strategy, maybe be a little aggressive," said the top-ranked player in women's golf.
"And I'm very happy to finish with birdie on the last hole and big save on the number 17, so it makes my day, so I'm very happy right now and hopefully real good sleep tonight and tomorrow really looking forward to tomorrow. Have all the big crowds."
South Koreans Se Ri Pak and Jeong Jang both withdrew during the second round. Pak, an LPGA Hall of Fame member, opened with a 75, while Jang shot a 76 in the first round.
For complete scoring, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.aspx.