Lee Mi Rim leads Asian charge at British Open

The only thing that stopped England's Liz Young, who is heavily pregnant, from playing was a missed cut.
The only thing that stopped England's Liz Young, who is heavily pregnant, from playing was a missed cut.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WOBURN (United Kingdom) • Lee Mi Rim could not match her great golf of the first round, but a 71 was still good enough to hold the halfway lead on 11-under 133 at the Women's British Open at Woburn on Friday.

The South Korean leads an Asian 1-2-3 as she holds a one-shot lead over China's Feng Shanshan (68) and Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn (69).

Scotland's Catriona Matthew, who will be 47 next month and won the title at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2009, shot a best-of-day 65 and moved into joint-fourth place on nine under alongside South Korean Jang Ha Na (67).

Lee admitted it had not been quite as smooth as the first round.

"The tee shots were a little off," said the 25-year-old. "I had a couple of three putts. I was a little bit nervous but I think that's natural when you are leading a Major."

Feng, out first, had no idea how she was faring.

When asked about Lee's sparkling course-record first round, she admitted she was totally oblivious to all that was going on about her.

"I actually didn't know she shot 62," she confessed. "I have a habit. I don't look at scoreboards at all until Sunday. I only know what I am doing."

World No. 1 Lydia Ko made the cut with a shot to spare on level-par 144 after a second-round 70. In danger of missing the weekend, the 19-year-old New Zealander birdied the 15th and 16th.

"I just tried to be patient," said the two-time Major winner from New Zealand.

"I knew I needed to shoot under par today and the birdies at 15 and 16 gave me a little breathing space."

But Liz Young's brave bid to qualify for the weekend ended in disappointment. Her husband-caddie Jonathan provided the perfect summary after Young, who is seven months pregnant, tired over the closing holes and missed the cut on 149, five- over par.

"The heart was willing but the body gave up on her," he said "She did well just to keep going over the last couple of holes."

Liz, 33, with her sizeable bump showing beneath a light-blue T-shirt, was exhausted by the time three putts on the 18th green gave her a four-over 76 in the fourth women's Major of the year.

"I was very tired. I played OK but I just had some loose shots at the end when my back was killing me and my feet were killing me," she said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Lee Mi Rim leads Asian charge at British Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe