Feng snatches SD LPGA halfway lead

Shanshan Feng ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

KUALA LUMPUR: It was a case of déjà vu at TPC Kuala Lumpur on Friday as titleholder Shanshan Feng reclaimed her position at the top of the leaderboard after a weather-disrupted second round at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.

The Chinese world number six shot a flawless six-under par 65 to secure a one-shot advantage over  Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, who fired a second consecutive 66 at the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur.

A shot further back in third spot was veteran American Cristie Kerr, who put in a glorious round of eight-under 63 to haul herself into contention.

South Korea’s Sei-young Kim (65) rued a two-stroke penalty after she accidently removed a leaf from the bunker on 17th. It dropped her into fourth position ahead of reigning KPMG Women’s PGA champion Danielle Kang (67), who was a shot adrift on seven-under.

Leading second round scores (Par-71)
131 – Shanshan Feng 🇨🇳 66-65
132 – Madelene Sagstorm 🇸🇪 66-66
133 – Cristie Kerr 🇺🇸 70-63
134 – Sei Young Kim 🇰🇷 69-65
135 – Danielle Kang 🇺🇸 68-67
136 – Carlota Ciganda 🇪🇸 70-66, Brittany Lincicome 🇺🇸 69-67, Gaby Lopez 🇲🇽 68-68, Candie Kung 🇹🇼 67-69, Nelly Korda 🇺🇸 68-68, Jacqui Concolino 🇺🇸 68-68, Suzann Pettersen 🇳🇴 67-69, Lydia Ko 🇳🇿 64-72, Su Oh 🇦🇺 65-71

Shanshan Feng has not dropped a shot in 36 holes ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

Feng’s love affair with the US$1.8 million event has seen her win twice as well as finish runner-up twice in the last four years and the seven-time LPGA winner leads the 77-player field on 11-under-par 131.

“Overall today was a very good round. I didn’t have as many birdie chances as yesterday but I think I actually made more putts so that makes me happy! Six-under is a very good score here,” added Feng.

The lengthy four-hour delay didn’t seem to bother her as she remained bogey-less after 36 holes.

“I had my feet up and then I was actually taking a nap,” said the jovial 28-year-old. “Some caddies were taking pictures of me and showing the others, like, oh, she’s sleeping again. Long delays are stressful so you just have to find a way to relax.”

Winnie Ng ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

National amateur Winnie Ng Yu Xuan put her right foot forward as she returned a solid one-under 71 to move to level-par at the halfway stage of the tournament.

After a flawless three-under opening nine, the 16-year-old showed great composure as she bounced back from successive double bogeys with back-to-back birdies on the inward nine to top the local challenge.

“Before the rain delay, I had a double and was staring at another putt for bogey to go. I was really down and sad. So I went back to the clubhouse and I ate and drank a lot.  I told myself: You know, sometimes bad things happen, but it’s the way you respond to it. You have a choice to feel good or feel bad. Just go there and have no expectation and just play your game,” she noted.

Three shots behind Ng is national team mate Natasha Andrea Oon, who shot a two-over par 73 to drop to three-over-par on aggregate.

The country’s top ranked professional Kelly Tan recovered from her disastrous opening round, shooting an impressive four-under 67 to move into a share for 68th on seven-over 149.