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Saturday October 12, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday October 12, 2013 MYT 9:59:43 AM
by shaun orange
Korean Choi Na Yeon (right) and her compatriots rule women's golf at the moment but the rest of the world are slowly but surely catching up.
THE Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is in its fourth year and, on each of the past three occasions, players from South Korea have left Kuala Lumpur with the tall silverware tucked under their arms.
At the halfway stage of this year’s edition, there’s another Korean sitting pretty atop the leaderboard in the shape of the 25-year-old Lee Ilhee, who followed up her opening round 64 with a 65 for a 13-under 129 total.
Her closest challenger is 18-year-old American Lexi Thompson, who has already won on the Tour.
The Dallas, Texas resident sits one shot behind, thanks largely to an outstanding round of 63, which would have been a new course record had it not been for the preferred lies, forced on the tournament by the heavy rain. That honour went to Amy Yang who shot a 62 for a two-day total of eight-under 134.
Next on the leaderboard is China’s Feng Shanshan, who shot a 65 yesterday to be just three strokes off the pace on 132.
There had been much discussion prior to the start of the event about whether the most dominant nation on the LPGA Tour for the past couple of decades will prevail come Sunday.
A quick glance at the leaderboard shows that the Koreans’ domination is under threat, indeed.
But let’s not forget that there are four Koreans tied for eighth or better at this stage of the tournament.
I.K. Kim is joint fourth on nine-under, Amy Yang is tied for sixth at eight-under and Ryu So-yeon is a shot back, lurking in the background on seven-under.
Having said that, Thompson, Shanshan and Paula Creamer (nine-under) have looked sharp and hungry as well and they could well bring an end to the Korean procession at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Mamiko Higa (eight-under), likewise, appears razor-sharp. En route to her 66 yesterday, she strung together five birdies in a row from the 10th hole to clearly illustrate why her name has been on the lips of so many recently.
Major winners Cristie Kerr and Suzann Petersen are also in the mix at seven-under and could yet usurp the Koreans’ bid for continued success at this US$2mil (RM6.3mil) tournament.
For a great number of fans, though, Thompson is the favourite to win tomorrow. She’s shown some good form recently and notched two top-10s in her last four tournaments, albeit with a missed cut at the British Open.
And if Mamiko’s superlative five-under from the 10th was something to shout about, consider Thompson’s exploits and five-hole blast from the 12th that was achieved in six-under. It included an eagle-two at the par-4 14th hole and that was some great golf!
Tags / Keywords:
Lee Ilhee, Sime Darby LPGA, golf, Suzann Petersen, Cristie Kerr, Ai Miyazato, KLGCC, Ryu So-yeon, Amy Yang, Paula Creamer, Feng Shanshan
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