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Uribe takes narrow lead over Ko and Shin
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Mariajo Uribe of Colombia

Colombian Mariajo Uribe fired a 6-under par 67 to overtake Kiwi Lydia Ko and Korean World Number 7 Jiyai Shin and leads the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open by one stroke after the second round at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

Uribe, who is bogey-free through 36 holes, finished her second round at 15-under par, one clear of Ko and Shin who finished with rounds of 69 and 67 respectively.

“I went out just wanting to get in the competition more, after two months without playing, so it was a fun round.  I was never kind of in the 9 under or anything.  I made good putts, took advantage of the opportunities and the same thing I did today.  So I feel pretty good,” Uribe said.

“It’s funny because the tournaments I play better are the ones that I’m rusty or that I’m not hitting the ball that well.  I think I come in with low expectations and things kind of happen.”

Ko said she was comfortable with her round following her opening round heroics.

“I think 4 under is a pretty good score out there.  I mean, it’s not an easy golf course.  I’m pretty sure it is a pretty good score for me. I mean at some points, because my putting was so good yesterday when it didn’t go in I was a little disappointed but I think I putted well out there and played well,” Ko said.

Western Australian Kristie Smith is four strokes behind Ko and Shin at 10-under par after her second round 68. Smith won the Royal Canberra Ladies Classic at the host venue in 2010, shooting a course record in the process.

Spaniard Beatriz Recari is in outright fifth at 9-under par while Queenslander Sarah-Jane Smith finished at 8-under par with England’s Holly Aitchison in a tie for sixth.

Rolex World Number 1 Taiwanese Yani Tseng is in a six-way tie for eighth place with American defending champion Jessica Korda, fellow American Gerina Piller, Australian Rebecca Artis, Italian Giulia Sergas and Japan’s Ayako Uehara.

World Number 12 Karrie Webb and England’s Laura Davies were among those to advance to the weekend on the cut line at 1-under par.

Tickets for the championship are available via www.ticketek.com or by calling 132 849.

Read what Mariajo had to say, here...

Round 2

MARIAJO URIBE

Q. Not a bogey in sight, not for two days.  Is that true?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah.  It’s been great.  I mean I’m putting, I’m not hitting the ball that well but I’m putting great, so it really helps out when you have to get an up and down and make birdies.

Q.  Shooting a 9 under yesterday, you must have thought:  How good is this, I’ll get a bit of attention but I guess the 15 year old took that away from you yesterday?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean I went out just wanting to get in the competition more after two months without playing, so it was a fun round.  I was never kind of in the 9 under or anything.  I made good putts, took advantage of the opportunities and the same thing I did today.  So I feel pretty good. Lydia did a great job yesterday too but I mean, just playing my game and staying patient, don’t really look at leaderboards and played my game.

Q.  Are you surprised that you’re playing so well or scoring so well, because it’s your first tournament of the year.  You must be a bit rusty?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean it’s funny because the tournaments I play better are the ones that I’m rusty or that I’m not hitting the ball that well.  I think I come in with low expectations and things kind of happen.  So, I’m kind of surprised by watching the course with the par 5s, you really can take advantage of that, so that’s helped me a lot this week to score well.

Q.  Your only win in 2011 was in Brazil?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yes, it’s unofficial event and it was a two day event.  So it was fun too.  I mean, I think I shot 11 under total.  It was a great opportunity and I think it gave me a lot of confidence, so when I’m in that position I am today, I’m really confident that I can finish the job.

Q.  Did that help you today, all the attention yesterday was on Lydia and you came in with minus 9 with no real pressure or attention on you.  Did that help you today?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yes, I’m a pretty relaxed player, I feel like I never feel a lot of nervous or pressure, but yeah, I just went out and did the same thing I did yesterday.  My round was low, like I was only one under through 9 holes, I really wasn’t hitting the ball that well, just making up and down, so things started going well and here I am.

Q.  Have you had the halfway lead in a big tournament before?

MARIAJO URIBE:   No, but I won Brazil, that was a two day event, so it’s kind of similar.  I have had the lead on the first day before twice, so I mean it’s a work in progress but I don’t really think too much of it or put a lot of things in my head; just keep playing the same way I would play if I was 40th or 20th.

Q.  When was the last time you hit a bogey, given the last two days?

MARIAJO URIBE:   I think this is for sure - I mean, I did something like this back when I was like 17 and I was an amateur, like at home in Colombia.  The first day I shot 6 under, the second day 10 under with no bogeys.  So that was probably the last time.  That was in 2007.  So it’s been a long time without having bogeys, especially in a course like this where the rough is tougher.  I mean, I’ve just been putting awesome.

Q.  How strong is golf in Colombia and have you had anything to do Camillo Villegas?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Camillo is a little bit older than me so I didn’t really play that much amateur golf with him, but I did grow up seeing him be like the hero back home.  So I played more golf with Manny, his brother but Camillo has helped a lot golf.  Now there’s more public golf courses, I think we have two or three, before we had none.  So it’s a really close thing in Colombia but the couple of players we have are pretty good.  Now we have three LGPA players from Colombia, so we’re getting there.

Q.  Did you realise you had the lead standing on the last tee?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean I figured Lydia was probably making a birdie too because I seen her putt yesterday and she makes a lot of birdies.  So I wasn’t really thinking of that, but I had a good opportunity on 17, it lipped out and then on 8 or 9, so I wasn’t really thinking about it but I did see the leaderboard.

Q.  So on 9 your drive, did you realise how--

MARIAJO URIBE:   Close (laughs).

Q.  -- much you cleared that bunker by?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Yeah, I mean, I hit it and I knew it was pretty close and then I saw a good bounce and that’s the way it’s been all week.  I believe in things that are meant to be and I feel it’s meant to be for me to play good this week, because a lot of bad shots have gave me a good break, like on number 9, so hopefully it stays like that for the weekend.

Q.  What’s the best you could hope for tomorrow?

MARIAJO URIBE:   I mean, I think good weather and just a good time.  I don’t think too much of it.  Just stay patient, keep doing the same thing, hopefully no bogeys, that really helps out for scoring and just keep doing birdies on the par 5s.  I think that’s the key on this course.

Q.  Will you be nervous?

MARIAJO URIBE:   As I said, I’m not really that type of player that gets nervous.  I love pressure, so that’s when I play better usually, when I have pressure.   I’m just going to be relaxed and if I have to play with Lydia, I’m sure I’m going to be relaxed because she’s so chilled on the golf course.

Q.  Your caddy this week, is he your regular caddy?

MARIAJO URIBE:   We’ve been together for a year, so we started last year at the Gold Coast here in Australia.  So it’s been great having him.  His name is Andrew Techmeier and finally I found somebody that gets along with me and knows my game well.  I’m really happy working with him.

Q.  How do you spell his surname?

MARIAJO URIBE:   Techmeier T-E-C-H-M-E-I-E-R.  (laughs)  I feel like a spelling bee contest.

KATHIE SHEARER: Okay ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed.

MARIAJO URIBE:   Thank you.

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