Jang, Lee lead as Ko slips back at HSBC Women's Champions


Singapore (AFP)

Top-ranked Lydia Ko carded an ugly 74 as she slipped nine shots off the pace set by South Koreans Jang Ha-Na and Lee Mi-Rim at the HSBC Women's Champions on Friday.

The 18-year-old, seeking her first win at the tournament in Singapore, has much ground to make up at the par-72 Sentosa course after an unsatisfying first two rounds.

Defending champion Park In-Bee was also five shots back from Jang and Lee, who fired 66 and 67 respectively for matching aggregate scores of 136.

Park, who didn't card a single bogey as she romped to the title last year, struggled to a 73 on another windy day at the resort island course.

Jang shot to the top of the leaderboard after shooting four birdies and an eagle on the par-five seventh, before Lee joined her at the top.

"First round and second round, two eagles, so I feel very comfortable," said Jang.

"Today I'm very comfortable on the front nine and I told myself, 'Don't do too much thinking, just be patient. There are two more days, so I have to concentrate more."

Like Jang, Lee had a flawless day and carded five birdies to move six places to the top. But the windy conditions affected her drives and she said she had to be sharper on the greens.

Lee said: "I feel that my swing right now is not good, but my short game is better and I am scoring well."

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand are trailing the leading pair by a stroke.

Pettersen, who fired 69 to go with her opening round of 68, said she was in a good position heading into the weekend.

"I've been playing some solid golf, hitting good golf shots and manoeuvring myself around this golf course in a pretty easy way," said Pettersen.

"I'm hitting the ball better and better each day, which is for me my bread and butter usually. It's nice that I feel comfortable and being able to hit the shots you see and execute.

"For me, it's a good starting point, but still got a job to do on the weekend."