Ai Miyazato, the Japanese star chasing a first LPGA Tour title, hit a second round 66 at the Evian Masters on Friday to grab a share of the lead.
On nine under par 135, she shares the halfway lead with Wales’ Becky Brewerton and South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon, who both shot 68. They trio lead by one from South Korea’s Kim In-kyung (69), with France’s Karine Icher producing a fine 69 to stand in the group of five players tied for fifth place on seven under par.
Taiwan’s Teresa Lu shot an even-par 72 to sit on one-over, while compatriot Candie Kung shot a 74 to be even-par after two rounds. World No. 2 Yani Tseng was a disappointing three-over after her even-par second round.
Miyazato, 24, is in her fifth season on the LPGA circuit, and this is her sixth appearance at Evian.
Brewerton, one of three first-round leaders, broke free of the field with three birdies and a long eagle putt at the seventh in an outward nine of 31. She picked up another shot at the 11th but then bogeyed the 16th and 17th.
Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson made a bold move with a 66 to join the tie fifth place. The highlights in a nine-birdie round included a chip-in from 20 feet at the 11th, and she then holed monster putts for more birdies at the 14th and 16th. She would have been even closer if she hadn’t three-putted the short 17th for bogey.
After an opening 75, world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa made a stuttering start with bogeys at the first two holes. But she hit back with five birdies for a 69 and a level par total.
US teenager Michelle Wie, twice a runner-up at Evian, improved her position with five birdies in a 71 for one under par. But France’s Gwladys Nocera, who lives in Lausanne and practices regularly at Evian, was a huge letdown. Last year’s European No. 1 missed the cut after a 76 for seven over par.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
REUTERS, BARSEBACK, SWEDEN
Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez had another good day with the putter on Friday, firing a second consecutive five-under 68 to hold the halfway lead in the SAS Scandinavian Masters.
The 39-year-old, seeking his fourth European Tour title, finished on 10-under 136, one ahead of first-round leader Lee Slattery of Britain.
Slattery (70) endured a one-hour suspension for the second day in a row after lightning again held up play. Briton Richie Ramsay (70), Swede Martin Erlandsson (70) and Pablo Larrazabal (71) were joint third on 140.
Gonzalez, who is 153rd on the money-list, has benefited from what he did on a short break after failing to qualify for last week’s British Open.
“I have a farm about 600km south of Buenos Aires called Handicap Cero, an education center and golf academy for poor kids of around 10-15 years old,” Gonzalez said. “Last week I was working nearly 12 hours a day felling trees and stacking timber. It’s all worth it. I want to give something back for what golf has given me.”
Another player striving to help youngsters is tournament favorite Henrik Stenson. The world No. 7 has pledged his winnings this week to a foundation he has set up for young Swedish golfers.
Things have not gone according to plan for the Swede on the course though and he needed to birdie his final hole to make the cut with a 74 for 147, one over.
REUTERS, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO
Jerry Kelly of the US dodged lightning, rain and another day of delays to take a one-shot lead at the weather-battered Canadian Open on Friday.