KUALA LUMPUR: National amateur Nur Durriyah Damian raised her game to finish as best performing Malaysian on the second day of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
The 20-year-old debutant traded three birdies with as many bogeys to post a respectable even-par 71 at the East Course of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, moving within six strokes of local frontrunner Kelly Tan, who stumbled to a three-over 74 on Friday.
LPGA regular Tan suffered from a poor ball striking display on the back nine to fall into a share of 50th with a two-over 144 total.
Double bogeys continued to haunt Michelle Koh as she returned with a four-over 75 to sit in 70th position while Cindy Lee-Pridgen and Ainil Johani Abu Bakar struggled to rounds of 80 and 81 to lie at the bottom of the 75-player field.
After a nervous opening round, Durriyah recovered with a good putting display to steady her maiden campaign. “I can be very happy with that display and except for the three-putt bogeys on the 16th and 17th, my putting was on song today. Hopefully, I can limit the mistakes over the next two rounds and just play some regulation golf,” she noted.
Tan lamented a couple of missed birdie opportunities early on which could have limited the damage.
“I had three good birdie chances on the front nine but only managed to convert one and then after the turn, just couldn’t get my ball into the right positions with my long irons. For sure, I’m disappointed but shooting under par rounds over the weekend should do the trick,” added Tan.
MEANWHILE, South Korean rookie Ha Na Jang took over the lead at the halfway stage of the US$2 million tournament with a brilliant six-under 65 effort.
The eight-time winner on Korean LPGA drained three consecutive birdies from the 14th to advance to a 10-under 132 overall.
Joint first round leader Xi Yu Lin (68) of China mixed four birdies with a bogey to lie a shot adrift in second with world number one and 2012 champion Inbee Park (66), Alison Lee (69) and Yani Tseng (68) hot on her heels.
A double bogey on the finishing hole saw defending champion Shanshan Feng fall four shots off the pace, lying in tied-sixth with three others.
Leading second round scores >
132 – Ha Na Jang (KOR) 67-65
133 – Xi Yu Lin (CHN) 65-68
134 – Inbee Park (KOR) 68-66, Alison Lee (USA) 65-69, Yani Tseng (TPE) 66-68
135 – Minjee Lee (AUS) 69-66, Amy Yang (KOR) 67-68, Feng Shanshan (CHN) 66-69, Chella Choi (CHN) 66-69
136 – Haru Nomura (JPN) 71-65, Lydia Ko (NZL) 71-65, Jessica Korda (USA) 69-67, IK Kim (KOR) 68-68
144 – Kelly Tan 70-74
150 – Nur Durriyah Damian (A) 79-71
152 – Michelle Koh 77-75
154 – Cindy Lee-Pridgen 74-80
161 – Ainil Johani Abu Bakar 80-81