Choi Na-yeon overcame her pre-round nervousness to shoot a two-under 69 on Saturday and take a three-shot lead at the LPGA Safeway Classic.
The South Korean star reached eight-under on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek course, sinking three birdies and a bogey in the second round after reeling off seven consecutive birdies in her opening 65.
However, she needed a brief pep talk from swing coach Robin Symes to put her in the proper frame of mind.
“I told my coach that I feel very scared to lose this chance. This is my first time to win this year,” Choi said. “He said: ‘This is not the first time. You had four times before. This is really like the fifth time. Don’t be scared.’ My answer was: ‘OK, I’ll do my best.’”
Her best proved enough, building a comfortable lead ahead of Stacy Lewis, who had a 68. She started the round with four consecutive birdies, but dropped three strokes with bogeys at five, nine and 10.
Mika Miyazato (67) was third at three-under. Taiwan’s world No. 1 Yani Tseng was tied for seventh place on one-under after a 69. Fellow Taiwanese Candie Kung and Amy Hung did not fair as well, Kung’s 76 leaving her on six-over, while Hung’s 78 left her a shot further back.
Choi said the last time she led a tournament wire-to-wire was the Jamie Farr Classic in July last year.
“I’ll start out playing aggressively and then I’ll decide how to play. I want to play my game, not their game or her game,” Choi said.
Lewis, in her third year on the LPGA Tour, is aiming to win her second official title of the year and her career. In April, Lewis captured the Kraft Nabisco — the first major of the year.
Lewis’ putter was working early during the second round. She rolled in birdie putts of 18 feet, 25 feet, 25 feet and 30 feet during the first four holes to briefly move into a tie for the lead with Choi.
“I didn’t hit great shots or anything. The putts were just going in,” Lewis said.
Brittany Lincicome (68), Ryann O’Toole (69) and Grace Park (73) were on two-under.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
MONKEYS ALSO WIN: The Rakuten Monkeys kept the Brothers from the first-half title as they dominated the Uni-President Lions, scoring four in the fourth The CTBC Brothers still need another win to clinch the first-half CPBL title, despite thrashing the hapless Fubon Guardians 17-0 yesterday, after the Rakuten Monkeys beat the Uni-President Lions 9-2. Fans of CTBC Brothers were hoping to celebrate the first-half title, with a crowd of more than 10,000 packed into the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium for their home game against the Guardians. The figure was an attendance record for this year, when baseball and most other major sports events worldwide have been played in empty venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering the game, CTBC had pushed their magic number down to 2, meaning
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans. And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years? “We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path