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Could Shin break two year drought?
September 07, 2012

Jiyai Shin, -12, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Danielle Kang, -11, Rolex Rankings No. 193
Dewi Claire Schreefel, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 141
Stacy Lewis, -8, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Leta Lindley, +2, Rolex Rankings No. 252

Rolex Rankings No. 13 Jiyai Shin (@sjy1470) moved one step closer to getting herself back in the winner’s circle on Friday, shooting a 3-under 68 to capture the second-round lead at the Kingsmill Championship. Shin followed up her tournament-record 62 on Thursday with four birdies and one bogey in Friday’s round and moved to 12-under-par for the tournament. She leads LPGA Tour rookie Danielle Kang by one stroke after Kang shot the low round on Friday, a 7-under 64.

An 8-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Shin has gone nearly two years without a victory. Her last win came at the 2010 Mizuno Classic in Japan.

A total of 72 players made the 36-hole cut, which fell at 1-under par (141).

Before Shin teed off on Friday, there was already one low round posted by Dewi Claire Schreefel, who had taken the early clubhouse lead at 10-under-par after shooting her second straight 66. So was Shin aware of what was taking place on the leaderboard?

“I'm always watching the leaderboard because that's why I have to know that my position,” Shin said. “I keep change my plan each hole after I check the positions. So, well, I saw a lot of players play good today, so I think it will be make the fun to competition next two days.”

Being at the top of the leaderboard is nothing new for Shin, who held the top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for a period of time in 2010. But is leading over the first two rounds something that she enjoys or would she rather try to claw her way from behind?

For Shin, the answer seemed simple – keep herself up on top.

“Why not?” Shin said with a laugh. “I think all players same answer. I really like when I’m on the top, but it also can come with a pressure, a little bit of pressure. But it's also other players saying they get the pressure, too, so I just keep focused on my game.”

Coming off of two consecutive missed cuts at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola and CN Canadian Women’s Open, Danielle Kang (@daniellekang) knew it was time for a change. During the week long break between this week’s Kingsmill Championship and the CN Canadian Women’s Open, Kang worked extensively with her coach and brother to return to winning form.

“After the CN Canadian Women's Open, I thought kind of obviously I'm approaching shots a little differently than I used to when I was an amateur and me and my coach sat down and talked about what I could do better or what could be changed,” said Kang. “So I approach iron shots differently and I've been flagging a lot of shots and I've been practicing with my brother before I came out here and he taught me how to putt every day, telling me, you know, you've got to do it this way, so it's been working.”

The only downfall of working so hard was a request made by her brother, and that was to give him five percent of whatever she made this week.

“My brother says I owe him five percent of whatever I win this week,” said Shin. “So I told him, hey, if he can get me to shoot under par and go low, I'll give you 20 percent.”

Kang’s hard work paid off on Saturday as she followed up a first-round 4-under-par 62 with a second-round 7-under-par 64. Kang’s blistering 5-under-par 29 on the back-nine ties the lowest nine hole score shot this year.

29 (-5) Jennifer Song ShopRite LPGA Classic, 2nd round par 34
30 (-5) Sydnee Michaels Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, 1st round par 35
30 (-5) So Yeon Ryu Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, 2nd round par 35

Looking to improve on a career-best tied for 14th finish at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Kang is no stranger to hoisting the trophy an elite golf tournament. Kang won the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships and became the first player in 15 years to successfully defend her title.

Dewi Claire Schreefel (@dcschreefel) was one of 33 players forced to return to The River Course Friday morning to complete the first round of the Kingsmill Championship. Schreefel resumed her first round on the eighth green where an unfortunate rules infraction cost her two strokes.

Prior to hitting her putt, Schreefel marked her ball then began to read the putt until her ball suddenly began to roll. Schreefel assumed it was okay to move her ball back to the original location since she still had ball mark down but unfortunately, she should have played the ball where it lied.

“The group in front of us, we saw her, she was around my -- where I was and we saw her putt roll away,” said Schreefel. “So with that my caddie said, Just leave your mark, since we thought the rule was if you leave your mark, when you put your ball back and it starts rolling, you can put it back to where it is. We -- I put my ball back but I left my mark, then started reading my putt and then it started rolling away. So then I picked it up and put it back by my mark, but the rule said apparently when it rolls away, even if your ball was still marked, you've got to play from the new spot.”

Schreefel quickly brushed off the rules infraction and started her second round a short time after with a birdie on the par-4 first. She then went on to record an eagle for the second consecutive day at the par-5 seventh then notched two additional birdies on Nos. 15 and 17.

“Things like that just kind of fuel me up,” said Schreefel. “You know, it's a little bit upsetting in the moment and you're losing two shots while you're in the hunt to make a really good score. It's unfortunate but we live and learn.”

Putting proved to be the difference for Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) in today’s second round of the Kingsmill Championship as she shot a 6-under-par 65 to move herself in contention for her fourth career LPGA Tour victory.

After 31 putts in yesterday’s first round, Lewis stayed on the practice putting green until dark at an attempt to become more comfortable with her stroke. The hard work paid off for Lewis who needed only 28 putts in today’s second round.

“Yesterday, I wasn't comfortable on the greens yesterday,” said Lewis. “I don't know if it was -- my speed was off early I think partly because of the rain and all that, but I just didn't really hit many good putts yesterday. Hit a ton of greens, had chances. And then we worked a little bit last night, it was pretty much in the dark but we worked a little bit and I kind of figured something out and hit some -- I hit a lot of really good putts today.”

While Lewis is focused on a good finish this week, she has her sights set on being named this year’s Rolex Player of the Year. Lewis currently stands second on the money list behind Inbee Park but holds a 26 point lead in the Rolex Player of the Year Race over Yani Tseng.

“I'm kind of looking toward the end of the year to be Player of the Year,” said Lewis. “That's kind of the final thing. Week in and week out it's just win tournaments and give myself chances to win. For Player of the Year I just need top 10s every week, so just giving myself chances to win, which is kind of what I've been doing all year. But I mean long term, get the No. 1 spot from Yani, but I think for November I would like to be Player of the Year.”

As Leta Lindley sat in the front of the media and shared stories from her LPGA career on Friday afternoon, the tears began to flow freely. After 18 seasons on the LPGA Tour, Lindley had just completed the last round of her career after finishing at 2-over-par and missing the cut by three shots.

And while she had prepped herself for this moment, the emotions of the day took over.

“I think I've had a mix of emotions, obviously very bittersweet, but knowing that it's the right time for me,” Lindley said. “Obviously I was very tearful coming up 18. I've been out here for 18 years and I've grown up out here and this has been my family for so long and it's been a big chunk of my life, but I know that it's time but it doesn't make it any less sad.”

Lindley and her husband, Matt Plagmann, walked up the 18th holding hands. Plagmann was Lindley’s caddie for nearly her entire career and it was an emotional moment as the two finished off what has been an impressive career out on Tour.

“I never would have made it out here for 18 years without him by my side,” Lindley said. “Not only is he an amazing caddie, but a wonderful husband, a cheerleader, psychologist, golf coach. He's been everything to me and my victories have been his victories as well. It's been so special that we could do it together. Not many husband-wife teams can work together and have the kind of relationship that we do and I'm most thankful for him.”

Lindley, 40, had decided earlier this year that the 2012 season would be her final one on Tour. Over her 18-year-career, she had enjoyed a steady career -- capturing one victory at the 2008 Corning Classic, tallying 33 top-10 finishes and earning more than $3 million. She and Matt have two children – son Cole, 8, and daughter Reese, 6—and she felt the time had come to spend more time at home with them. Although they frequently travel with their mom and dad on Tour, they were back at home for the start of school. Lindley has always said how important being a mom is to her and now she’ll get the opportunity to do that job full-time.

“Ultimately they're my legacy,” Lindley said. “They're the most important thing to me. I mean, I chase a little white ball out here and it's been a tremendous ride. They grow up so fast and I can't believe that Cole is eight and Reese is six. Before I know it, they're going to be out of the house and I just don't want to miss any more of that. So it's time to create some different memories.”

Two-time Kingsmill Championship winner Cristie Kerr shot rounds of 72-74 to miss her second LPGA Tour cut this season. Looking to notch her first victory since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, Paula Creamer is two-strokes off the lead after rounds of 65-67. Brittany Lang, this week’s LPGA.com Player of the Week, rebounded back from a first-round 1-over-par 72 with a second-round 5-under-par 66.

KINGSMILL CHAMPIONSHIP
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