Golf: Flawless Danielle Kang grabs four-shot lead at halfway mark of HSBC event

Danielle Kang of the US lines up a putt during round two of the HSBC Women's World Championship golf tournament in Singapore on March 2, 2018.
Danielle Kang of the US lines up a putt during round two of the HSBC Women's World Championship golf tournament in Singapore on March 2, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Danielle Kang tore apart the New Tanjong course on Friday (March 2) with a stunning display of golf to grab the halfway lead of the HSBC Women's World Championship.

The American, whose victory at last year's Women's PGA Championship was her first LPGA Tour title and also maiden Major, fired an eight-under 64 at the Sentosa Golf Club and is on 12-under 132.

The 25-year-old is four shots clear of compatriots Nelly Korda (66) and Marina Alex (67), both on 136, at the US$1.5 million (S$2 million) tournament.

Kang's score also tied the course record, set last year by Park In Bee in her final round en route to victory.

Kang said: "There are lots of birdies out there. I'm more focused on being present and just hitting the shots. I'm hitting it well, rolling the putt well.

"So I'm not really worried about the results of how those shots come out. It feels like just a cruising day. Just hit fairways, greens and have a run for a birdie."

Kang, who broke her tooth on Thursday morning before her opening round but was given the all clear after seeing a dentist, showed she had plenty of bite in her game. The world No. 21 has yet to make a bogey after 36 holes while draining 12 birdies.

Referring to her tooth, she said: "Every time I hit a shot, I'm like, it keeps scratching. It's raw here, but it's okay. I just don't chew on this side. I'll be fine."

Korda, 19, was making her first appearance at the HSBC event after her rookie year last season. She said: "I heard it's a pretty fairly new golf course, so it's a bit firm. So you definitely have to place your iron shots well on the greens. But I'm very happy with today and hopefully keep it going.

"I'm just really consistent. That's all I've been working on this off-season is just to hit as many greens, just to try to minimise those big mistakes. The more consistent I am, the better I'm playing, so hopefully I continue that throughout the season."

Top-ranked Feng Shanshan signed for her second straight 70 and was tied-15th and seven strokes back on 140 while former world No. 1 Lydia Ko also had back-to-back 71s and is on 142 and tied-27th.

Defending champion Park, who is making her first LPGA start since last August's British Open, shot 70 and was tied-36th on 143.