Golf: World No. 1 Park surges into lead at Thornberry Creek Classic, rookie Noh a shot back at halfway mark

Park Sung-hyun moved into the coveted top LPGA Tour ranking spot on Monday (July 1).
Park Sung-hyun moved into the coveted top LPGA Tour ranking spot on Monday (July 1).PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Park Sung-hyun stormed through her second round at the Thornberry Creek Classic on Friday (July 5), with a sizzling 10-under 62 for a one-stroke lead over tour rookie Yealimi Noh.

The world No. 1 golfer, who moved into the coveted top LPGA Tour ranking spot on Monday, rolled in four straight birdies beginning at the par-four sixth and then repeated the feat on the other side with four straight, beginning at the par-five 13th.

She shot a bogey-free round to reach a 17-under 127 total at the halfway stage of the LPGA Tour event in Oneida, Wisconsin.

"I made four birdies in a row twice today. I honestly didn't know," Park said. "When I was eight under today, I thought I was seven under."

The 25-year-old is fresh off a win at the NW Arkansas Championship, her second of the season, that vaulted her back into the top spot.

Noh, who turns 18 in three weeks, is making her pro debut at this tournament and capped her second round with a six-foot birdie on the par-five ninth.

She shot a 63 in her opening round on Thursday. She turned down a scholarship offer from a US college and instead turned pro. This is her third LPGA event after competing in the other two as an amateur.

Noh played in the last group on Friday with 20-year-old amateur Presley Cornelius, who stumbled to a 31-over-par 103 in the second round and missed the cut by 60 shots.

Cornelius, who got in on a sponsor's exemption, shot a 96 on Thursday and finished at 55 over, a whopping 72 strokes back of leader Park, who will be Noh's playing partner on Saturday.

Ariya Jutanugarn had a 64 and was two shots behind Park. The Thai former world No. 1 said she expects to see a lot of birdies on the weekend.

"Actually, I feel like it's really tough for me because I felt like every hole, everybody have the chance to make birdie," she said.

American's Mina Harigae and Tiffany Joh are tied for fourth at 14 under after shooting 63 and 66 respectively.

First-round leader Liu Yu (69) and her Chinese compatriot Feng Shanshan (67) are one stroke back in a tie for sixth at 13 under.