US golfer Jessica Korda hung on to the lead at the Reignwood Classic when she shot a 5-under 68 to be in front by two strokes after the second round yesterday.
Korda, who shared the overnight lead with Choi Na-yeon of South Korea, bogeyed the first hole before gathering her first of seven birdies on the fourth.
Despite another bogey on the fifth, Korda picked up three consecutive birdies before the turn, then three more on a bogey-free back nine to leave her at 14-under 132 overall in the US LPGA Tour event.
“I started a little slow today, but all in all I think it was a great day,” she said. “I putted really well, just kind of did the same things I was doing the first day. A little different score [from 64 on Thursday], but I’m not really disappointed with that.”
Feng Shanshan, China’s only winner of a major tournament, had a stellar round of 64 with nine birdies and no bogeys to sit tied for second at 12 under with Stacy Lewis of the US, who had seven birdies in a bogey-free round of 66.
Feng said she had managed to overcome the pressure from the hometown crowd that had restrained her on Thursday.
“I think the pressure made me, like, couldn’t give it my all, and today I was like, ‘I’m going to give it all,’” Feng said. “This is the time.”
Lewis started slowly, but strung together six consecutive birdies on the back nine and has yet to card a bogey over two rounds.
“I got off to a little bit of a rough start, kind of got impatient on the greens,” said Lewis, who is paired with Korda for today’s third round. “At the end of this golf course you can make some birdies, so I just need to stay patient and keep hanging in there.”
Choi (71) was a stroke back at 11 under, followed by top-ranked compatriot Inbee Park (68), who fired five birdies to be 9 under.
“It was much better ball striking than yesterday, but I think I missed only one green out there today, gave myself a lot of opportunities,” Park said.
“Especially seeing the scores yesterday, I thought this course was definitely scoreable,” she said. “I kind of saw that on the practice round, and it was an even better score than I thought. I think you just gotta go low here every day to win.”
With China’s week-long National Day holiday drawing to a close, Beijing’s notorious pollution returned yesterday, casting a noxious pall over the Nicklaus Course at the suburban Pine Valley Golf Club.
Korda said that made it a little tougher for the players, despite the excellent condition of the course.
“The smog that’s coming in right now, it’s making it heavy, and it’s harder to breathe out there,” she said. “You cough a lot.”
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng was tied for 23rd on four-under 142, while compatriot Candie Kung was among a group of players in 49th place four shots further back.
Additional reporting by staff writer