Golf Today - Over 80000 pages of golf information
Golf News
 

Two-stroke lead for Tseng
March 23, 2012

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend after shooting a 4-under 68 in the second of the Kia Classic. Tseng had the same number of birdies as her first round (6) but made back-to-back bogeys on No. 7 and 8 before turning things around on the back-nine when she shot 33, which included closing out with a birdie on the par-4 18th hole.

Sitting two shots behind Tseng is LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak, who tied for the low round of the day with a 6-under 66. It’s the lowest round for Pak on Tour since she shot 66 in the second round of the 2010 Bell Micro LPGA Classic. She went on to win that event, which is her last professional victory.

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng holed a bunker shot for birdie on the tenth hole Friday to swing the momentum in her favor en route to a second-round 68. The 23-year-old added another chip-in with the wedge on No. 13 – one of six birdies in her day – to overcome back-to-back bogies on Nos. 7 and 8. Surprisingly, the bunker shot on 10 was her first-ever hole-out as a professional in a tournament. “I think that's the first time I chipped in from the bunker as a professional, so I was really, really happy about that. Today, I just stayed really patient, and I was very happy that I finished with 4-under.”

Tseng will be paired on Saturday with Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, a player she has long admired. “I think for us, especially Asian golfers, all Asian golfers want to be like Se Ri Pak. She's a superstar. She's a legend. When we were kids, we were looking for her swing. We wanted to learn her swing. We're always looking as a goal with us.”

Tseng remembers with regret the first time she played alongside Se Ri Pak as a member of the LPGA Tour at the 2008 CN Canadian Women’s Open. “Unfortunately, I was very nervous. It was the first time I played with her. It was just a bad time to play with her because I had a four-shot lead, and I was nervous, and there was so much pressure and I didn't win the tournament. I was thinking too much and nervous to play with Se Ri. And I was overthinking and trying too hard.” Australian Katherine Hull went on to win event.

It’s been nearly five years since Se Ri Pak became the youngest ever player to qualify for the Hall of Fame at age 29, but the Korean legend is still as focused as ever on competing. Pak, who shot a 6-under 66, still wants to get back in the winner’s circle as she hasn’t won in nearly two years.

“Since last year almost the end of the season -- every tournament I feel really great about it,” Pak said. “Now I'm really enjoying playing golf. Actually, in the winter time I was working with my dad. He's my first coach. He helps me a lot, and made it very simple. There are no major effects or a lot of routines going on. It's very simple thoughts. So that helps a lot at the golf course too.

“At the same time, I felt really comfortable about it, so I guess my swing's getting better and better each week, every tournament. If I make more putts, it will be great. I'm feeling really great.”

Is this the time? Jiyai Shin came oh-so-close to winning the Kia Classic last year, losing on the 72nd hole to Sandra Gal at Industry Hills at Pacific Palms outside Los Angeles. But while it wasn’t her time to win last year, Shin appears on her way to making a push at a Kia Classic title again – this time at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Shin, who was paired with Gal over the first two rounds, shot a second-round 71 and sits four shots back of leader Yani Tseng.

“This is a Korean company sponsor, so it feels like, oh, I have to do this,” said Shin. “I want to win on this tournament. So a lot of Koreans live here and came to watch us. I feel like I'm ready. It's time.”

Rollercoaster round: Caroline Hedwall’s even-par 72 on Friday was far from a ho-hum round of golf. She had five birdies and five bogeys in the second round as she managed to keep herself near the top of the leaderboard in a T3 at 5-under-par with Jiyai Shin, Alison Walshe and Jodi Ewart.

“It was just up and down all day, but I was playing solid,” said Hedwall, the 2011 Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour. “It's just I hit my longer irons a little bit worse than the rest of the game. So if I can just work on that, I'm back tomorrow and hopefully can shoot low.”

Third-year LPGA Tour member Alison Walshe tied Se Ri Pak for the lowest round of the week with her 6-under 66 to move into a T3 at 5-under-par. The 26-year-old tallied six birdies and no bogeys en route to tying her career low round, which she shot once previously in the final round of the 2010 Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala. She is coming off a missed cut at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup last week, but feels that her game is starting to come together at the right time.

“I was hitting the ball really well off the tee, which gave me a lot of opportunities to attack the pins,” said Walshe, who shares the same swing coach, Gary Gilchrist, as leader Yani Tseng. “My putter was really working well today. I made a few long ones, which always helps, and then I converted on the short ones, so everything came together.”

Sticking around for the weekend: A total of 75 players made the cut, which fell at 5-over-par 149

Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome and Stacy Lewis pulled double duty on Friday at the Kia Classic. The trio helped to run Golf Channel’s coverage of second-round play at La Costa Resort and Spa with Christina Kim taking over for play-by-play man Rich Lerner in the booth, Brittany Lincicome producing the telecast and Stacy Lewis operating a camera on the 15th hole.

For all three of the players, it was an experience that they won’t soon forget.

“I had no idea, even though I'd been in the booth before, how hard that would be,” Kim said. “It's outrageously hard, but so fun. Stacy had a hard job, watching the ball with the camera. Brittany probably had the hardest job because she had to tell everyone what to do.”

“I felt like I was getting the hang of it,” Lincicome said of her job producing. “Okay, I want to go for this hole and they're putting for this score. I got it towards the end. But putting in the Kia promos and the leaderboard and all that, that's where I was getting confused. Because to go from hole to hole with a different girl was pretty easy, but to do all that other stuff in there was pretty hard. I'd definitely do it again. I thought it was very exciting.”

“I thought I did okay. I had a good teacher,” Lewis said of working the camera. “The hardest part was following the ball. It goes a lot higher than you think. You have to zoom out and focus while following it all at the same time. The first couple groups were tough. I needed more practice before Yani's group. He said, "if you miss the ball, just zoom out."

Brittany Lincicome wasn’t entirely pleased with the way that she played on Friday while shooting a 1-over 73, but the round certainly provided one stellar highlight. Lincicome recorded her second career hole-in-one on the LPGA on the par-3 6th hole, holing out from 167 yards with a 5-iron.

Lincicome said that the ace came at an ironic time because she and her good friend, Stacy Lewis, had just made a little wager heading into the hole. With both players struggling to get anything going on the day, they felt a little motivation was needed so they put a $5 wager on birdies for the last four holes.

"No. 7 is a par-5, can I get $20 eagles even though it's not reachable because it's dead into the wind,” Lincicome said. “And she goes, "yeah, but we could still hole out. $20 eagles." So of course we step on 6, and she almost holed it. She's like five feet, and I hole it. So we're looking at each other, and she's like, "I hate you." It was so funny that we had this whole conversation and then I made a hole in one.”

One person walking outside the ropes during Friday’s second round drew quite a bit of attention from both the crowd and the media.

LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster, who underwent surgery on her right elbow in January, was walking with her good friend Pat Hurst’s group at La Costa on Friday. Inkster is expected to be out until at least the end of June as she recovers from the surgery, although she’s already planning her return to golf.

“You know me, I'm an overachiever,” Inkster told the Golf Channel “I'm ahead of schedule (to return). I'm starting to get stronger.”

Carlsbad native and La Costa member Jennifer Johnson kept herself in the hunt with a second-round 73 that put her at 3-under-par through two rounds of play. “I'm right where I need to be for the weekend,” Johnson said. “Just a couple under over the next few days, and we'll see where that puts me.”

Defending champion Sandra Gal shot a 4-over 76 in Friday’s second round and sits in a T50 at 4-over… Jimin Kang withdrew during the second round of play on Friday…Rookie Lexi Thompson shot a 2-under 70 and sits in a T21 at even-par for the tournament…Only four rounds were shot in the 60s during Friday’s second round.

KIA CLASSIC RELATED STORIES









Flash Sales!
30% off Golf Care Golf Insurance...

Stuart Barber Blog
All Change for 2015...... Or Where do we go from here?

What's in the Bag?
What the winners are playing on Tour worldwide.

© Golftoday.co.uk 1996-2017 - Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy - About Us - Advertise - Classifieds - Newsletter - Contact Us