Gal stretches lead to three strokes in season-ender

AFP, NAPLES, Florida

Sun, Nov 24, 2013 - Page 19

Germany’s Sandra Gal fired a three-under-par 69 on Friday to stretch her lead in the LPGA’s season-ending Titleholders to three strokes.

Gal, who led by one shot going into the second round, had five birdies in her three-under effort at windy Tiburon Golf Club and her 11-under total of 133 put her three strokes clear of South Korea’s Yoo Sun-young.

Yoo posted her second straight 68 for 136 and was two strokes in front of Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum (68), and the US’ Gerina Piller (67) and Cristie Kerr (69).

South Korea’s Park Hee-young, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and the US’ Morgan Pressel were a further stroke back on 139 — one stroke in front of a group of six that included world No. 1 Inbee Park, as well as China’s Feng Shanshan and US teenaged star Lexi Thompson.

New Zealand’s 16-year-old sensation Lydia Ko, playing her first tournament as a professional after an amateur career that included victories in four pro events, had two birdies and one bogey in her second straight 71.

The elite season finale, open to players who posted top-three finishes this year, features a winner’s prize of US$700,000, the largest on the LPGA Tour.

Yoo, who won a major title at last year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, has posted five top-10 finishes in 41 starts since then.



Charl Schwartzel shot a seven-under 65 on Friday to take a share of the halfway lead at the European Tour’s season-opening South African Open.

The 2011 Masters champion had five birdies and an eagle in his first nine on the way to 12-under 132, and a place alongside Marco Crespi (67) after two rounds at Glendower Golf Club.

Morten Orum Madsen (66) was a shot behind the leaders.

Overnight leader Matthew Nixon (72) slipped into a tie for seventh, while two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen (71) is tied for 12th at seven-under.

Schwartzel had the round of the day despite slipping slightly on the back nine, where three bogeys prevented him from taking a commanding lead He joined Crespi at 12-under after the Italian had set the early pace with six birdies and a single drop.

Madsen was alone in third and Christiaan Basson was fourth a further shot back at 10-under. Nixon shared seventh at eight-under after a double bogey on the par-four No. 10 spoiled his round.

Goosen, the South African Open champion in 2005, was hanging in after a tougher day on Friday. He had an eagle on No. 15, but also double-bogeyed No. 5 for a 71 to go with his opening-round 66. He is five shots off the lead.