STOCKBRIDGE (Georgia): Aree Song gave herself an early birthday present on Friday, earning a share of the lead with Lorie Kane atop a crowded leaderboard at the LPGA tour golf tournament here.
A 17-year-old rookie born in Thailand who now has South Korean citizenship, Song had six birdies on a bogey-free day at Eagle's Landing Country Club, grabbing the clubhouse lead at nine-under 135 before Canada's Kane caught her.
“I played pretty well all day,” Song said. “It was my last round as a 17-year-old, so I wanted to do it right.”
Kane shot a 68 to join Song at 135, a stroke ahead of Grace Park of South Korea and Natalie Gulbis. South Koreans Kim Mi-hyun and Lee Jung-yeon were two shots back, with Rosie Jones and Michele Redman among four players three off the pace.
Swedish superstar Annika Sorenstam birdied two of the final three holes to close a 69 and creep within five shots of the leaders at four-under 140. The Hall of Famer won two of her first three starts this year.
Also on the leaderboard are South Korean star Pak Se-ri, American Meg Mallon, Australian Rachel Teske and Lorena Ochoa of Mexico at five-under 139 and Cristie Kerr with Sorenstam at 140.
While some of the game's bigger names are on the leaderboard, Song is just trying to make a name for herself. She's halfway to her first career title, having played the last 31 holes in eight-under.
On Friday, Song had three birdies in a four-hole span on the front nine and three more in a six-hole stretch on the back. Among the birdies were three putts of 15 feet. – AFP