Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Stupples leads, Taiwan’s Kung well placed

AFP , HAIKOU, CHINA

Taiwan’s Candie Kung makes a putt at the Grand China Air tournament in Haikou, China, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

England’s Karen Stupples struck a 67 to take a two-shot lead from American Laura Diaz after a rain-interrupted second round of the inaugural Grand China Air LPGA yesterday.

Stupples’ score was the equal low round of the day for a 36-hole total of 10-under 134.

Diaz fired a one-over 73, coming after her course-record 63 on Friday which gave her the first round lead, with Sweden’s Louise Friberg (69) another shot back in outright third. Three players, South Korea’s Ahn Shi-hyun (68), Candie Kung of Taiwan (69) and Christina Kim of the US (68), share fourth at six-under 138.

Stupples, who was joint third overnight, made an excellent start with four birdies in the opening seven holes to race up the leaderboard and challenge Diaz. Then the Englishwoman, twice an LPGA winner, finished by rolling her lob wedge from the green-side rough at 18 straight into the center of the cup for a closing birdie and the lead was hers.

“I had been close to chipping in all day and finally I was rewarded for a good chip,” she said. “So I was very happy with that, excited to do it. I knew that would put me at least in the lead and that’s kind of exciting. I haven’t been in the lead going into the final round for a while.”

With Stupples playing in a group in front of Diaz, the two battled for the lead on the back nine as the field endured two breaks for rain.

The leading Chinese player after round two was rookie Feng Shanshan, the first exempt player on the LPGA Tour. Followed by big crowds, she returned a one-over 73 for a one-under 143 to be 24th.

Among the big names, Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson was tied seventh at five-under 139, world No. 2 Annika Sorenstam was equal 19th on 142 and Suzann Pettersen was on 145.

The second rain interruption seemed to break the concentration of Diaz, who came back out to hit consecutive bogeys at 14, 15 and 16.

Diaz, who added a final bogey at the last, said she was disappointed.

“Obviously, the weather played a little bit of a factor. I had it going, then we went in and out and I struggled a bit,” she said.<

Also See: Arron Oberholser takes one-stroke lead at Fry’s

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