Sorenstam powers to two-shot halfway lead at LPGA

HAVRE DE GRACE (Maryland): Annika Sorenstam's goal is to win all four majors this season and she took a significant stride to making it two out of two with a stunning finish to a second-round 67 on Friday at the LPGA Championship. 

On nine-under 135, the Swede, who has won the title for the past two years, led by two shots at the halfway point at Bulle Rock Golf Club in Maryland.  

Second was Britain's Laura Davies, who carded a 70, with 22-year-old American Natalie Gulbis, with a 71 on Friday, a further stroke behind. 

Among those within striking range included the hugely talented 15-year-old amateur, Michelle Wie. Making her debut in the Championship, the Hawaiian schoolgirl, who has already had two top tens in majors, had a 71 to finish five off the lead on four-under 140. 

But it was the machine-like Sorenstam who gained control with a six-birdie round highlighted by three tap-in birdies in the last five holes. At the 372-yard 14th, she almost holed out for an eagle two and then she hit to within a couple of feet for further gains at both the 16th and the short 17th. 

“I thought the course was playing tougher today and it was quite windy,” said Sorenstam. “I saw Laura had got to seven-under and said 'wow, she's playing good.' I wanted to try and keep up with her. 

“I'm obviously very happy with where I am,” the Swede said. “It's very steady, hitting fairways and greens and I couldn't really have asked for a better start.” 

Davies, another two-time winner of this championship, also had her moments to savour, most notably at the 330-yard 16th where she hit her drive just short of the green and then holed the little chip for an eagle two. She also had four birdies and four bogeys in a rather roller-coaster round. 

Davies, a former world No.1, has won four majors, but has not won on the LPGA Tour for four years. By contrast, Annika has won 35 in the same period, including seven of her last nine. 

“But I still think I can win, I wouldn't be out here otherwise,” said Davies, for whom a win on today would bring entry to the LPGA Hall of Fame. 

“My goal for tomorrow is to go out and shoot another decent round and then wake up on Sunday with a chance to win. Obviously, Annika could go berserk, but there's nothing I can do about that.” – Reuters  

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