Sun, Mar 23, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Yani misses cut, rookies Lee and Ko take charge

AFP and AP, PHOENIX, Arizona

Mirim Lee of South Korea chips from the bunker onto the fifth green during the second round of the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, the 2012 winner of the LPGA Founders Cup, missed the cut on Friday with rounds of 71 and 74. The 15-time tour champion is winless in 46 events since the 2012 Kia Classic, which came a week after her Founders Cup victory. She has dropped from first to 45th in the world in a year.

Her compatriot Candie Kung was tied for 16 on 138.

South Korea’s Mirim Lee fired a five-under par 67 to seize a two-stroke lead over New Zealand teen Lydia Ko after the second round of the LPGA Founders Cup.

In only her third LPGA event and first in the US, rookie Lee stood on 13-under 131 for 36 holes, with South Korean-born Kiwi Ko, the 16-year-old world No. 4, two back after a 66.

“It’s great to see two rookies out there,” Ko said, adding she was surprised to be so close to Lee.

“She’s obviously playing really good golf and there are a lot of birdies out there. I’ve never really met her before, so should be good to get to know another rookie,” she said.

South Korean Yoo Sun-young was third on 134, with American Jessica Korda and South Koreans Chella Choi, Ryu So-yeon and Inbee Park — the world No. 1 — sharing fourth on 135.

“I probably missed two or three shots and I left a lot of putts out there,” said Park, who had two birdies on the back nine, as well as an eagle at 15. “I didn’t make anything. So it was very good to actually see the putts drop on the last five holes. It was a relief.”

Lee, 23, opened with a birdie, but took her lone bogey at the eighth. She birdied the par-five 11th and par-four 13th, then eagled the par-five 15th and closed with a birdie to stay in front, as she was after day one.

“I played a little boring on the front nine, so I went more aggressive on the back nine,” Lee said through a translator. “It worked well so now I plan on being aggressive the rest of the week.”

Lee, like Ko, seeks her first LPGA title as a professional. Lee has won three times on the South Korean women’s tour.

Ko finished strong as well, after a slow start.

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