Ram­pant Ariya soars to 4-shot lead in Hainan

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - GOLF (Shang­hai Daily)

WORLD No. 1 Ariya Ju­tanu­garn blew away the rest of the field at the Blue Bay LPGA yes­ter­day as the big-hit­ting Thai carded a 4-un­der-par 68 in windy con­di­tions to open up a four-stroke lead on south China’s Hainan Is­land.

After two rounds at the US$2.1-mil­lion tour­na­ment, a co-sanc­tioned event be­tween the China and US LPGA tours, the Bangkok na­tive was 7-un­der 137.

Moriya Ju­tanu­garn, Ariya’s elder sis­ter who was run­ner-up last year, was equal se­cond after shoot­ing a 71 over the Jian Lake Blue Bay lay­out, tied with Amer­i­can Jen­nifer Song (71) and Mex­ico’s Gaby Lopez (71).

Zhang Wei­wei was the top Chi­nese after post­ing a 69 to sit six shots back in a group of three play­ers that in­cluded Thai­land’s Thi­dapa Suwan­na­pura, the overnight leader who strug­gled to a 75. US LPGA Tour reg­u­lar Liu Yu was a shot fur­ther back in equal ninth after the Beijing na­tive posted her se­cond straight round of even-par 72.

Start­ing the day one shot back, Ariya carded con­sec­u­tive bo­geys start­ing at the fifth hole to drop to 1-un­der. She then got to work with three straight birdies to make the turn at 4-un­der.

“I hit the per­fect shot at the par-3 sev­enth hole and made birdie. That gave me lots of con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially on the par-5s,” said the 22-year-old, a three-time win­ner this sea­son.

Hubei na­tive Zhang, who won in the wind at last year’s Hengqin Phoenix Tree Build­ing Ori­ent Golf Chal­lenge in Zhuhai, cred­ited her putting for her move up the leader­board in post­ing a bo­gey-free round. “The put­ter was re­ally good to­day, just 23 putts. The long game was not ideal and I just hit nine greens in reg­u­la­tion. The put­ter saved this round,” the 21-year-old said.

Liu carded three birdies over the first eight holes, only to see them wiped out by three bo­geys. “I had a great chance to have a re­ally good score to­day. I was 3-un­der par for the first eight holes. I lost my fo­cus then,” said the 22-year-old, who won on the CLPGA Tour as an am­a­teur.

World No. 2 Park Sung-hyun im­proved to an even-par 72 to get to 1-over. De­fend­ing cham­pion Feng Shan­shan (72) of China was 3-over in equal 23rd.

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