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U.S. rookie takes LPGA lead in S. Korea with local stars lurking

2017/10/13 16:52

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INCHEON, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- American rookie Angel Yin seized the second round of an LPGA tournament in South Korea on Friday, with a handful of homegrown stars lurking behind her at the halfway point.

Yin fired a seven-under 65, a tie for the lowest round of the day, to move to 11-under overall at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship on the Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf & Resort, near Incheon International Airport.

Angel Yin of the United States tees off on the first hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap) Angel Yin of the United States tees off on the first hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap)

Yin holds a two-stroke lead over three South Koreans: the 2016 Rookie of the Year Chun In-gee, world No. 2 Park Sung-hyun, and Korea LPGA (KLPGA) star Ko Jin-young.

Two other KLPGA players, Bae Seon-woo and Kim Ji-hyun, are sitting at eight-under.

Chun matched Yin's score of 65 thanks to eight birdies against one bogey. Park, an overnight co-leader, shot a 69 after picking up six birdies against three bogeys.

Ko, the 2016 KLPGA Player of the Year, carded a 67 with eight birdies and three bogeys.

Yin is currently a distant second to Park in the Rookie of the Year points race. Park, who has won twice this year and also leads the money list, has 1,333 points to Yin's 559. Rookies earn 150 points for tour victories, 80 points for runner-up finishes, 75 points for third place and so forth. There will be five tournaments left in 2017 after this week.

Chun In-gee of South Korea hits a tee shot at the first hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap) Chun In-gee of South Korea hits a tee shot at the first hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap)

South Koreans and Americans dominated the leaderboard. Three U.S. players, Marina Alex, Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas, are also at eight-under, in a tie for fifth, and two South Koreans, Chella Choi and Kim Min-sun, rounded out the top 10 at seven-under.

South Koreans have a combined 13 victories from 27 tournaments so far in 2017. The record for most wins by South Korean players in one LPGA season is 15 from 2015.

Chun, who birdied six of the nine holes on the back nine, said she shook off fears of missing short putts in the latter part of the day.

"I missed a lot of short birdie putts in the first round and also on the front nine today," she said. "Starting at the 10th hole, I stopped worrying about not holing out short one, and putts started dropping."

   Chun, who has had five runner-up finishes this year without a victory, said she isn't overly concerned about adding to her win totals. She won a major in each of the past two years.

"Though I haven't won this year, I think I've played pretty consistent golf," she said. "I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for the job well done so far. I don't have any negative thoughts lingering in my head. Coming in second place is disappointing but you can't finish first in golf all the time."

   Among other notables, Lexi Thompson of the U.S., the 2015 champion and world No. 3, is in 13th place at six-under after her second straight 69. Defending champion Carlota Ciganda is one shot behind Thompson in a tie for 15th.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko followed up her 68 with a 73 on Friday to slip to three-under for the tournament, leaving her in an eight-way tie for 25th.

South Korean star Kim In-kyung, the only three-time winner in the LPGA this year, withdrew before the second round, citing a stomachache.

Park Sung-hyun of South Korea hits a tee shot at the third hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap) Park Sung-hyun of South Korea hits a tee shot at the third hole in the second round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky 72 Golf & Resort's Ocean Course in Incheon on Oct. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the tournament organizing committee. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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