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Pettersen Now up by Five in Korea


Suzann Pettersen followed up her opening, course record-setting 9-under 63 with a 68 to take a five-stroke lead in the $1.8 million HanaBank Championship. The LPGA Tour event is being played at Sky 72 Golf Club's Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea.

The 31-year-old Norwegian carded five birdies - including four on the back nine - Saturday, along with her first bogey in the 54-hole tournament en route to reaching 13-under 131.

"It almost took me nine holes to kind of adjust to the conditions," Pettersen said of a day with blustery weather. "Just felt like it was a little bit harder to get really close. Gave myself a lot of chances, didn't quite roll them in to start off. Made a good birdie on 7, missed a very short putt on 8, a bit of a silly one, and I kind of lost my concentration, and I said to myself, you can't let your focus slip.

"As much as I wanted to make it, it was almost a break point where I got my focus back, it got my attention. And then on the back nine, very happy the way I finished. I was standing on 15 and said to myself, it would be nice to finish with two or three birdies, and I think that's what I did. Good way to finish the day."

Alone in second at 136 is South Korean So Yeon Ryu, who shot a 70, with countrywoman Se Ri Pak (67), Germany's Sandra Gal (68) and defending champion Yani Tseng (7) sharing third at 137.

Ryu said later she wasn't very comfortable Saturday, but managed to come home with a 2-under-par effort. "I always play really great at the front nine, but the front-nine pin positions were really tough, and even today the weather is really like a little chilly and wind really strong," the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion said.

"But especially hole six is kind of a really tough hole, but pin position was so rough and green was into wind, and it was really hard to stop on the green. I got a par there. Well, the problem today is weather is really chilly."

Tseng, who's still the No. 1-ranked female golfer in the world despite some recent struggles, is happy with the direction her game is taking. "Feels pretty good," said the Taiwanese superstar, who started the year out hot with three victories in the first two months of the season. "I mean, today was tougher than yesterday, and I had a couple wrong decisions on the front nine, so made a couple bogeys there. And I had two three putts. Greens were very tricky today, but I hung in there and I finished strong, last five I had three birdies.

"So always very happy to get a finish like that on 18 and enjoy the crowd," the 23-year-old said of her birdie on the par-5 last hole. "I think it's very important, kind of make your day. Then you can go back home and be a happy person and have a good sleep and come out tomorrow with smiles. I'm very looking forward to tomorrow and just want to relax and have the same strategy as today."

Tied for sixth seven strokes behind Pettersen are Lexi Thompson (70), Korean Ha-Neul Kim (72), Scotland's Catriona Matthew (70) and Spain's Azahara Munoz (72).

No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis had her second consecutive tough outing. After opening with a 72 in calmer conditions, the 27-year-old - also a three-time winner this year - carded a 74 Saturday.

Other scores included a 75 by Karin Sjodin; the Swede began the second round on a stroke behind Pettersen but after 36 holes dropped into 10th at 139.

Michelle Wie posted her second straight 73 in the no-cut tournament, and fellow American Morgan Pressel withdrew before the start of play Saturday. The 24-year-old Floridian shot a 77 on Friday.

For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.aspx.