Sun, Apr 24, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Koch shines in Round 2 of Corona Championship

AP , MORELIA, MEXICOAP, HUMBLE, TEXASAP, BEIJING

Greek golfer Jenna Daniels putts on the second hole during the Corona Morelia Championship at Tres Marias Golf Club in Morelia, Mexico on Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Sweden's Carin Koch opened a 3-under 69 with an eagle 2 and went on to take a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the LPGA's Corona Morelia Championship on Friday.

Koch, who started the second round two strokes behind first-round leader Natalie Gulbis, holed a sand wedge from 97 yards for the eagle on No. 1, a 376-yard par-4.

"It was going straight in the hole and it just bounced once and went in the hole," said the 34-year-old who last won at the 2001 Corning Classic. "It was a really fun way to start."

Koch birdied No. 5, but missed a 6-foot par putt on the next hole. She dropped another sand wedge within 3 feet for a birdie on No. 8 that moved her to 7 under for the tournament. She got to 8 under with a birdie on 16, but missed a 4-foot par putt on 18.

"I definitely left some putts out there, I had so many chances," Koch said. "I think a lot of players are leaving a lot of putts out there because the greens are very difficult to read."

Wendy Ward, who won for the first time in nearly four years at the Takefuji Classic in Las Vegas last week, had a 69 and was at 4-under 140 after two trips around 6,154m Tres Marias Golf Club.

Gulbis and another Swede, Maria Hijorth were tied for third at 3 under.

Gulbis eagled the 390-yard, par-4 4th, but the consistency that had been the key to her first-round lead left on par-3 14th where she had a 6 on the way to the 75.

Local favorite Lorena Ochoa shot a 71 and was even after 36 holes.

Ochoa won twice in 2004 to become the LPGA Tour's first Mexican-born champion, and, despite temperatures that climbed to 30? C, about 150 fans followed Ochoa throughout her round.

Brett Quigley and Gavin Coles shared the lead after two rounds of the Houston Open on Friday, one stroke in front of a four-man group that included defending champion Vijay Singh and John Daly.

Singh held a one-stroke lead after his opening 64, but he had a 1-under 71 on Friday that included a bogey at the par-5 9th that snapped a string of 64 holes at par or better at the Redstone Golf Club.

Quigley shot a second 67 and Coles had a 69 to share the lead at 10-under 134.

Jeff Maggert (68) and Joe Ogilvie (67) joined Daly (67) and Singh at 135, while Greg Owen was another stroke back after a 69.

Jose Maria Olazabal (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (68) were in a group of five at 137.

Coles shook off a bogey on his first hole, the par-4 10th, by making a 65-foot birdie putt at 11. He had birdies at 14 and 15 and took the lead at 10 under with a 19-foot birdie putt on 18. After five straight pars, he birdied the par-5 6th, then gave it back on the following hole when his 10-foot par putt ran 2 1/2 feet by the cup.

"You just never know which is your week," said the 1.63m tall Australian, whose best finish this year is a tie for 17th at Tucson in February.

"It's only Friday. I don't like to get ahead of myself too often."

Coles is making his second try at the US PGA Tour. He made the cut in only seven of 28 events two years ago, finishing 227th on the money list. He played last year on the minor Nationwide Tour, and was 20th in earnings with one tournament win and two top 10s.

Quigley had made the cut in nine of 10 events this year and finished in a tie for fourth at the Honda Classic. He's still looking for his first victory since becoming a regular on the tour in 1997.

Australian Adam Scott maintained his hold on the Johnnie Walker Classic with firing a second round 6-under-par 66 Saturday for a four stroke lead.

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