Golf: Back-to-back 67s propels Park In Bee to the top of the HSBC Women's Champions leaderboard

South Korean Park In Bee is a former world No. 1 and has won 17 LPGA Tour titles, including seven Majors.
South Korean Park In Bee is a former world No. 1 and has won 17 LPGA Tour titles, including seven Majors.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Park In Bee fired her second straight five-under 67 to seize control of the HSBC Women's Champions at the half-way stage on Friday (March 3).

The South Korean, who triumphed in 2015 at the Sentosa Golf Club, is 10-under 134 and a shot clear of Michelle Wie (69), Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and Hur Mi Jung (67).

Park, 28, is a former world No. 1 and has won 17 LPGA Tour titles, including seven Majors. She also claimed the gold medal at last year's Rio Olympic Games and is playing her second tournament after a six-month injury lay-off after the Summer Games in August.

She said: "It's a good round today. Obviously I got off to a very hot start. I was able to make some putts early in the round and then I had a little bit of a mistake on No. 12 (she double bogeyed the 438 yards, par-four).

"I had a couple of birdies on the back nine, so I was able to clean up my mess on the back nine."

World No. 2 Ariya, who won five titles last season, was pleased with her round at the New Tanjong Course. She said: "I think today I hit my tee shot pretty good and my approach was like really good today. I just like missed some short putts on the front nine but back nine I start to make some putts."

American star Wie, who drew the largest gallery, had a clean scorecard without any bogeys and drew positives from that effort. She said: "I definitely just kept very patient out there. It got really frustrating at times just seeing those putts just slip out.

"I just kept it steady, and a good up-and-down on the last hole which I'm really proud of. Looking forward to tomorrow."

Top ranked Lydia Ko shot 68 and was joint-seventh on 137, alongside defending champion Jang Ha Na (67) and four other players.

Singapore's Amanda Tan signed for a commendable 73 and its tied-59th on five-over 149 in the 63-women field that features 19 of the top 20 female golfers.