Sun, Mar 19, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Ariya, Lewis share Founders lead

AFP, PHOENIX, Arizona

Michelle Wie shoots out of a bunker on the 15th hole in the second round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday.

Photo: The Arizona Republic via AP

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and the US’ Stacy Lewis shot identical scores for the second straight day to sit atop a crowded leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, with Michelle Wie lurking close behind.

Ariya and Lewis on Friday fired five-under 67s following 64s in the opening round to reach 13-under-par heading into the weekend at the Desert Ridge course.

The duo lead Lee Jeong-eun, Hur Mi-jung, Wie and Vicky Hurst by one stroke and has a group, including Inbee Park, Jessica Korda and first round coleader Chun In-gee within three shots of the lead.

Ariya, Lewis and Chun were among five tied for the first-round lead.

“It’s pretty hard, because I feel like every hole, everybody has a chance to make birdie,” said Ariya, the reigning Women’s British Open champion. “I’m not really worried about who is going to be in the leaderboard. I just really focus on like what is under my control. So tomorrow it is just go have fun.”

Ariya began her round on the back nine and it did not take long for the birdies to start falling. She had four birdies in six holes beginning at the par-four 13th.

Lewis’ bogey-free round also has her sitting in a good position heading into the weekend. She is seeking her first win since 2014.

“I played really solid; today was another good day,” Lewis said. “Didn’t have the distance control with my wedges quite dialed in the way I would’ve liked, but still made a bunch of birdies and shot a good round.”

“It’s always hard to follow up a round like yesterday. So, happy with the day again,” she added.

Wie is one stroke back of Ariya and Lewis, as the American started her day on the front nine and had a hot putter. She posted six birdies before dropping a shot with a bogey on the par-four 13th to card a five-under 67.

“The front nine went very well. Every time I had a birdie opportunity I took advantage of it,” Wie said. “That’s kind of what you need to do on this golf course. You have to shoot low numbers out there. You just have to keep making birdies to stay afloat.”

Kaohsiung-born Candie Kung of the US carded another three-under 69 to finish the round tied for 54th on six-under.

Taiwan’s Min Lee, Chien Pei-yun, Yani Tseng, Hsu Wei-ling and Cheng Ssu-chia all missed the cut line of five-under, the lowest in LPGA history.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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