Golf: Mirim Lee leads Asian cavalcade at British Open

South Korea's Mirim Lee tees off on the 17th hole on the second day of the British Open.
South Korea's Mirim Lee tees off on the 17th hole on the second day of the British Open.PHOTO: AFP

WOBURN, United Kingdom (AFP) - Mirim Lee couldn't match her great golf of the first round, but a 71 was still good enough to hold the halfway lead on 11 under par 133 at the Women's British Open at Woburn on Friday (July 29).

The 25-year-old 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 another South Korean, Jang Ha-Na (67).

Lee admitted it hadn't bee quite as smooth as the first round.

"The tee shots were a little off," she said.

"And 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, four on my own game and if it's mine, it's mine."

Feng is a bubbly character and already has one major - the 2012 Women's PGA Championship to her name - and she was second in this event at Royal Birkdale two years ago.

Matthew's 65 was a thing of beauty. Seven birdies and not one bogey.

Her second daughter Sophie, was just 11 weeks old when she won at Lytham seven years ago, and she would love to lift the title again.

This summer is already special for Matthew as she will be playing for Team GB in the Olympics, something she deems a lifetime achievement.

"When I started playing golf and was growing up, I could never have dreamt of playing in an Olympics," she said.

"It's something I've been dreaming about for the past couple of years and I feel it is a huge achievement and a great honour."

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.

"Going into today, my goal was to play all four rounds. Now I just have to stay positive. There are still 36 holes to go."

But notables who did miss out included Americans Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie, who shot 76 and 73 respectively.