Steady Feng fends off S. Korean trio

Feng Shanshan watching her shot from the 16th tee during the US Women's Open. She held a two-shot lead at the halfway mark.
Feng Shanshan watching her shot from the 16th tee during the US Women's Open. She held a two-shot lead at the halfway mark.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US Women's Open anything but 'America First', as the leading nine are all foreign golfers

BEDMINSTER (New Jersey) • China's Feng Shanshan held off a trio of South Koreans at the US Women's Open, but her performance was overshadowed by the grand entrance of American President Donald Trump to the golf club that bears his name.

Riding in a motorcade of more than a dozen black SUVs, the president rolled in to the 202ha Trump National, becoming the first sitting US head of state to attend the women's golf Major.

His arrival was met by applause and some cheers, but the second-round leaderboard was anything but "America First", with the top nine all internationals on the rain-soaked 6,732-yard Old Course on Friday.

Feng, the overnight leader on 66, was her steady self, following her first bogey of the tournament at the 10th hole with back-to-back birdies for a 70 and an eight-under 136 total, good for a two-shot lead over South Koreans Amy Yang (71), Lee Jeong Eun (69) and amateur Choi Hye Jin (69).

"On my front nine, the rain was really heavy," said Feng, the world No. 6 who has won seven Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) events, including one Major. "But luckily my ball-striking was pretty good, so I hit most of the balls on the greens.

"Overall, I did really well today."

Surprises came in the form of Lee, known as Jeong Eun - the sixth player with her exact name to play on the Korean LPGA Tour - and 17-year-old Choi, the world No. 2-ranked amateur.

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  • Greens in regulation Feng Shanshan hit in the US Women's Open second round, despite the rain.

The 21-year-old Lee, in her first visit to the US, carried on the sublime form that landed her 10 top-10s from 14 events on the KLPGA Tour.

"I'm nervous," the 40th-ranked player said, "I'm not sure if I can finish well in the last two days."

Teenager Choi, a winner on the KLPGA this year, reeled off four successive birdies from the 18th hole, her ninth, and had a share of the lead before two late bogeys pulled her back.

Lurking a bit further back were some of the biggest names in women's golf. World No. 1 Ryu So Yeon (72) and 2015 winner Chun In Gee (70) were among those on 140.

The top American was Marina Alex (70), on 141 along with former No. 1 Lydia Ko (73) of New Zealand, who overcame four bogeys in a row on the front nine with four birdies on the homeward half.

Sixty-two players made the cut, set at two over. Missing by one stroke was KPMG Women's PGA Championship winner Danielle Kang, with Park In Bee and Ariya Jutanugarn both seven over.

REUTERS

US WOMEN'S OPEN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 16, 2017, with the headline 'Steady Feng fends off S. Korean trio'. Print Edition | Subscribe