Golf: Danielle Kang grabs two-shot lead at LPGA Tournament of Champions

Kang plays a shot on the fourth hole during the first round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament Of Champions. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - World number five Danielle Kang birdied two of the last three holes to seize a two-stroke lead after Friday's (Jan 22) second round of the season-opening LPGA Tournament of Champions.

The 28-year-old American, seeking her sixth career LPGA title, matched the day's low round with a six-under-par 65 to stand on 13-under-par 129 after 36 bogey-free holes at Four Season Golf & Sports Club in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Fourth-ranked Nelly Korda was second on 131 after a 66 with defending champion Gaby Lopez of Mexico and South Korea's Chun In-gee, who also shot 65, on 133 and Jessica Korda fifth on 134 after closing with three consecutive bogeys.

The 71st LPGA season-opener featured winners from the past three seasons, those in 2018 added because of the depleted number of tournaments played in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kang, who began the day with a one-stroke lead, opened with a birdie and made another at the par-4 fourth, then birdied the par-3 ninth and par-5 10th for the second day in a row.

She birdied the par-4 16th then landed her approach four feet from the cup at the par-5 17th and sank her birdie putt before closing with a par.

The Kordas are US daughters of 1998 Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda and their 20-year-old brother Sebastian reached his first ATP final last week at Delray Beach.

Nelly Korda, five years younger than her sister at 22, birdied the fourth and eighth holes around her lone bogey at the par-4 sixth.

She began the back nine with a birdie, added two more at the 12th and par-5 13th and another at the par-4 16th as she chases a fourth LPGA victory but her first in the United States.

Chun, 26, chases her fourth LPGA crown, having taken major titles at the 2015 US Women's Open and 2016 Evian Championship as well as the 2018 Hank Bank Championship in her homeland.

Chun opened with a birdie and birdied all three par-5s on the back nine - 10, 13 and 17 - in a bogey-free round.

"Always when I play a bogey-free round it's great," Chun said.

"I tried to be more patient. I trust my game on the course and I just keep going and then it worked."

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