China, South Korea lead chase

Shi Yuting ©MALGA
Shi Yuting ©MALGA

Subang: Shi Yuting continued her dominant performance at the 36th Asia Pacific Ladies Invitational Golf Team Championship for the Queen Sirikit Cup, keeping China within striking distance of leaders Philippines at Saujana Golf & Country Club.

Touted as one of the most promising juniors produced by the Middle Kingdom in recent years, Shi followed up on her opening 70 with an impressive four-under 68 on Thursday to top the individual leaderboard by four strokes.

Her sterling performance combined with her compatriot Wang Ziyi’s 73 gave the Chinese a 143 total and a two-day haul of 286 for a share of second alongside South Korea, who chalked up a second successive 143, courtesy of Lee So-young (71) and Gyeol Park (72).

Philippines preserved their overnight advantage, with South East Asia (SEA) Games individual gold medalist and 2012 Malaysian Junior Open champion Princess Mary Superal contributing a three-under 69 with Pauline Del Rosario notching a vital even-par 72 for a 141 daily total. Overnight individual leader Clare Amelia P. Legaspi carded a non-contributing 73.

Japan lie fourth on 291 while Chinese Taipei took sole possession of fifth, thanks to a scintillating second round of five-under 67 by Ssu-chia Cheng.

An improved display by the Malaysians, notably a two-over 74 by Dianne Luke Jia Zhen and Nur Durriyah Damian’s 77 lifted the hosts to eleventh placing with a two-day overall of 308.

Gunning for their maiden victory at the prestigious championship, the Chinese are relying on their talisman Shi to lead the way and the 16-year-old Shanghai native has yet to disappoint.

“I’m quite happy with my score but a little disappointed with how I finished my round. My putting was much better todayy and I was lucky to be able to convert all my birdies from under 10 feet,” said Shi, who finished fourth during an amateur start at the Sanya Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour last year.

“I was six-under through 15th but I got a little over-excited and the heat took its toll, which resulted in two dropped shots on the 16th when I three-putted after missing the green with my approach and on the 18th, when I send my tee-shot into the water.

“That two shots could have made a difference for our team overall but my team captain advised us to just focus on our respective games tomorrow and not think about how we finish or winning just yet,” she added.

The Philippines remain on course for their first Queen Sirikit Cup victory and the dynamic team, which triumphed at the Myanmar SEA Games in December, remains confident of achieving a major breakthrough.

“It feels nice to remain on the top of the leaderboard and we feel good about our chances tomorrow. We have to remain consistent and everybody has to deliver a good final round, which hopefully will lift us to victory in this championship,” said Superal.

Overall second round team standings
284 – Philippines (143-141)
286 – China (145-141), South Korea (143-143)
291 – Japan (145-146)
294 – Chinese Taipei (151-143)
296 – Indonesia (149-147)
297 – Australia (149-148)
299 – Thailand (153-146)
301 – India (147-154)
303 – Hong Kong (153-150)
308 – Malaysia (157-151)
311 – Singapore (157-154)
312 – New Zealand (154-158)

Leading second round scores (individual)
138 – Shi Yuting (CHN) 70-68
142 – Ssu-chia Cheng (TPE) 75-67, Lee So-young (KOR) 71-71, Clare Amelia P. Legaspi (PHI) 69-73
143 – Princess Mary Superal (PHI) 74-69
144 – Haruka Morita (JPN) 71-73, Park Gyeol (KOR) 72-72
146 – Ida Ayu Indira Melati Putri (INA) 75-71
148 – Wang Ziyi (CHN) 75-73, Kitty Tam (HKG) 75-73, Choi Hye Jin (KOR) 76-72, Hannah Green (AUS) 75-73, Ridhima Dilawari (IND) 74-74