Park stays bogey-free for share of Singapore lead

Fri Mar 6, 2015 5:05am EST
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Park In-bee curled in a three-meter birdie putt on the final hole to maintain a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the HSBC Women's Champions, the Korean going bogey-free for the second straight day to reach nine-under for the tournament.

The world number two and overnight leader overcame a frustrating day with the putter by picking up three birdies over the final five holes to card a three-under 69 and join big-hitting Spaniard Carlota Cigna at the top of the leader board.

Cigna made the most of her prodigious length off the tee to offset two bogeys with eight birdies for a best-of-the-day six-under 66, two strokes clear of fellow Spaniard Azahara Munoz, who is alone in third place on seven-under.

World number one Lydia Koo remains on course for a hat-trick of wins following recent triumphs in Australia and her native New Zealand, the 17-year-old carding a two-under 70 to join Stacy Lewis, Karri Webb and Jenny Shin on six-under overall.

For Park it was another case of staying patient to gain rewards after she waited nine holes for a birdie on Thursday and followed that up with 13 straight pars on Friday before finally moving under par for the day with an impressive downhill putt.

The breakthrough ended a frustrating run of near misses and shaved cups and once she found her range on the greens, she drained another lengthy birdie putt on the 15th and completed her round in style with the big-breaking putt on the last.

"None of my putts wanted to drop today," Park told reporters. "It could have been a better day but I'm really satisfied the way I finished, especially bogey-free through two days is a great result."

Park has five major victories among her 19 professional triumphs but the $1.4 million restricted-field event in Singapore is one of the few big tournaments she has yet to win and the 26-year-old will be desperate to change that this weekend.   Continued...

Park In-bee of South Korea hits off the ninth fairway during the first round of the LPGA Canadian Women's Open golf tournament in Coquitlam, British Columbia August 23, 2012.   REUTERS/Andy Clark/Files