South Korean Pak Se-ri fired a one-under 71 to take a one-shot lead while slumping Michelle Wie missed the cut with a 10-over 82 after the second round of the LPGA Championship on Friday.
“I’m happy to be back in this seat,” Pak said. “Before I teed off, I knew it was tougher because of the wind. It was very difficult. I tried not to make big mistakes. I’m very happy about the finish. I got a couple of great up and downs.”
Pak, who is playing for the first time since injuring her shoulder two months ago, was at three-under 141 heading into the weekend of the major championship event.
She has a one-stroke lead over South Korean Park In-bee, American Paula Creamer, Japan’s Mika Miyazato and Sandra Gal of Germany. Pak made bogey on the par-three seventh, but managed to salvage par on four consecutive holes on the front nine.
“Right now, I’m still not 100 percent,” Pak said. “I’m slowly better every day. I know it’ll take a little while. I’m just trying to not push myself out there too much. Out of an injury, you don’t have high expectations.”
American Wie missed the cut by following her opening round of 74 with an 82.
Wie was not alone. A total of 14 players broke par on Friday after 16 broke par on Thursday.
Defending champion Yani Tseng struggled to make the cut. She opened with a 76 then followed with a 75 to finish the two rounds at seven-over 151.
“I did my best,” Tseng said. “I hung in there. I play good on the front nine. It could be a so much better score today.”
Tseng’s back nine was her undoing as she finished with five bogeys.
“I was shocked,” American Stacy Lewis said. “It’s probably the worst I’ve seen Yani play over two days straight.”
Tseng routed the field at last year’s LPGA Championship, winning by 10 shots over Morgan Pressel and Cindy LaCrosse.
Tseng, who has won three of the first five events on this year’s LPGA Tour, has five career major titles on her resume and has already wrapped up the LPGA Tour Player of the Year Award for the second straight year.
Taiwanese compatriot Candie Kung did better than Tseng, scoring a five-over 77, making it 148 on the tournament to make the cut.
First-round leaders Beatriz Recari, Giulia Sergas and Ryann O’Toole fell off the pace on a day that strong winds added an extra challenge on the Locust Hill Country Club. Sergas and O’Toole shot 76, while Recari fired a 78.
Cristie Kerr was two under after a 76. Kerr posted a dominating win in 2010.
Ji Eun-hee (68) had the lowest round of the two days and was in a six-way tie at 143.
Additional reporting by staff writer