Golf: Lang on song for halfway lead in Korea

American chirping after five birdies and one eagle, Ko back at even-par after bad 1st round

INCHEON (South Korea) • US Women's Open champion Brittany Lang posted a seven-under 65 to total 134 and move into a one-shot lead over Alison Lee, after the second round of golf's KEB Hana Bank Championship in Incheon yesterday.

Cristie Kerr and Park Sung Hyun matched Lang's 65 to move into joint third, three strokes off the pace.

After a poor opening round of 75, world No. 1 Lydia Ko got back to level after shooting 69.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, hot on Ko's heels in the LPGA points race, struggled again at the SKY 72 Golf Club, posting a second straight 73.

Lang trailed her fellow American Lee by four strokes after the opening round of LPGA/KLPGA co-sanctioned tournament but a flawless round of five birdies and a chip-in eagle two at the 251-yard, par-four 15th saw her claw back the deficit.

"It was a very enjoyable day. The greens are really firm but roll really nice. It was such a perfect day of weather," the 31-year-old said after her round.

Brittany Lang putting on the sixth hole, where she made par, in the second round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship in Incheon. It has been a lean year for Americans, with only Lang and Lexi Thompson winning.
Brittany Lang putting on the sixth hole, where she made par, in the second round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship in Incheon. It has been a lean year for Americans, with only Lang and Lexi Thompson winning. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PLEASED AS PUNCH

Started out with a birdie on one and just really played super solid. I was really swinging at it well.

BRITTANY LANG, American golfer, on her excellent second round.

"Started out with a birdie on one and just really played super solid. I was really swinging at it well. Hit a lot of fairways and greens, made some long putts early, and had a cool eagle on the back and then birdied 18. It was just a really enjoyable, nice, solid day of play."

But Lee answered with a chip-in eagle of her own at the same hole to retake the lead at 10 under but made a mess of her approach to the last hole and finished with a bogey.

She posted a 70.

"Overall I feel like I played pretty well shooting two under. Unfortunately on the back nine I struggled a bit," the 21-year-old said. "I didn't make any of the putts I looked at on the back. I missed a lot of birdie putts coming down.

"On 10, I think I actually three-putted. I think that's what got me scared. I just couldn't get the ball in the hole. Thankfully I had an eagle on the short par-four which kind of brought me back."

Kerr carded a bogey-free 65 for her lowest round since May, reported the LPGA website. She won twice last season, including the year-ending CME Group Tour Championship, but like many Americans on the Tour has struggled to find success this year.

Lang is one of just two Americans to win on the Tour this season, the other being defending champion Lexi Thompson, who won in February at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Park, the No. 1 Korea-based player, could have gone even lower than 65 but her nine birdies were offset by a couple of untidy bogeys at the eighth and 11th holes.

"I think I definitely adjusted to the speed of the green. Yesterday during the first round (of even par) I wasn't reading the distance quite right, and so the ball would hit the cup and fall out," said the 23-year-old, who has three top-six finishes in the Majors this year and has finished outside the top 13 just once on the Tour.

REUTERS

LPGA KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Lang on song for halfway lead in Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe