Kuala Lumpur: Rain disrupted play twice on the second day of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2011 but it did not hinder a spectacular performance by two Americans lasses, who rose above the changing conditions to set the halfway mark.
Ovenight joint leader Brittany Lang picked up where she finished yesterday to hang onto the tournament with a hard charging Stacy Lewis, both finishing the day at nine-under- par 133 to hold a slim advantage of one stroke over the pair of Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands and South Korea’s Na Yeon-choi, both who carded matching 68s in tough conditions. Azhara Munoz took sole possession of joint fifth with an effort of 68 for a seven-under total with the trio of top ranked Yani Tseng, Azahara Munoz and
Lewis overcame rain delays in the afternoon to record the best round of the tournament so far with a 65 – also saw her tie the championship record set by . The 26-year-old Ohioan had an unbelievable round, carding eight birdies in total including four consecutive one from the 12th. The only blemish to her impeccable round was a double bogey on 9th as she stormed from joint seventh on Thursday into the joint lead, putting herself in a great position for the weekend.
When asked about her performance Lewis said “On the front nine, I was hitting good putts, but wasn’t putting any in and I made a bad swing on the ninth and made double. That almost got me more focused and I started hitting good golf shots and putts started going in and things started going my way on the back nine.”
On how she felt for the rest of the weekend Lewis responded “I struggled last week and so it’s nice to just get out there and shoot some good scores, and seeing putts going in is always a good thing.”
Lang maintained her form with birdies on 6, 9, 12 and 13, ensuring a flawless 67. Her consistency will give her comfort going into the weekend where she will need to put up a strong fight for the title. Talking about her day today Lang said “I played really solid. I feel like I played a lot better yesterday but really only one shot better. I hit the ball well, not as good as yesterday and I made a couple of long putts and got some momentum, and then we had all of those delays, that was really tough, because I had just come off two birdies and it was four‑under and it was tough to go in after that. I came back out and I didn’t hit it that great, just made a couple of pars and that was it.”
Lang spoke further about the delays that disrupted play “It’s really hard after you come back. You come out and you always feel different. Like I was like a little bit shaky, because you sit for so long, you’re in the air conditioning and you just feel different and then you have to get back to seeing your golf shot. I didn’t do a great job of that coming in, so something to learn.”
World No. 1 Yani Tseng made her mark on today’s round by scoring an excellent 67 to go 6 under par for the tournament and finished the day just three shots behind the leaders. Tseng was extremely lucky as she sunk her putt on the 18th just as the siren for the first rain delay went off, leaving her playing partners Sophie Gustafson and Jimin Kang to finish off their putts after the delay.
Tseng had a fantastic back nine, birdieing 12, 13, 14 and 18. She hit two long putts to get her birdies on 13 and 14, while hitting a wonderful approach shot on 18 to land a few feet from the pin and convert for her 6th birdie of the day. Tseng will be looking to add to her already impressive total of seven victories this year, and winning in Malaysia would be the best way to warm up for her home event in Taiwan next week.
“I played very consistently on the front nine, and I didn’t make much birdies like last week. But this course is very tough. There is water on every hole, you have to concentrate or you will drop a shot. It’s not easy to play out on this golf course, and I’ve been really patient today and tried to make birdie in every hole and to play smart.”
On her chances for the rest of the tournament, Tseng said, “Just like today, try to make birdie every hole and if not, save par and then try to play smart.”
Kelly Tan was the highest placed Malaysian scoring 73 today to improve her score from yesterday. Tan had a mixed day with birdies on 3, 6, 10 and 15 to go with her bogies on 1, 4, 5 and 11. When she was asked about how she was feeling about her game Tan responded “I have been playing well. Yesterday I felt I had a good game, it was just two holes that cost me, 7 and 10. But I am happy with my putting today and feel that I am in better shape for the weekend.”
Shot of the day came courtesy of the the best dressed golfer of the day, Paige MacKenzie on the par 5, 12th. She put her second shot right in front of a bunker surrounding the green. Mackenzie calmly stepped up and pitched over the bunker and holed her 37 yard chip for an eagle.
Leading round two scores
133: Brittany Lang (US) 66-67, Stacy Lewis (US) 68-65;
134: Dewi Claire Schreefel (Ned) 66-68, Choi Na-yeon (Kor) 66-68;
135: Azahara Munoz (Spa) 67-68;
136: Tseng Yani (Tpe) 69-67, Kim In-kyung (Kor) 68-68, Michelle Wie (US) 68-68;
137: Suzann Petersen (Nor) 68-69;
138: Paula Creamer (US) 71-67, Amy Yang (Kor) 69-69