|Inbee Park shot a second round of seven under par 65 to lead on 11 under par
South Korea led both Team and Individual Competitions late in the afternoon on day two of the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan, southern China.
After a delay of one hour 50 minutes due to early morning fog, World No.4 Inbee Park fired seven birdies in a flawless, tournament record 65, to lead the individual strokeplay event by four strokes on 11 under par.
Meanwhile in the Team Strokeplay Competition running simultaneously, at -14 under, the combination of Park and Ha Neul Kim gave the country a large lead over Spain, still yet to finish.
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, on eight under par after 15 holes, was the next best player, while Norway’s Suzann Pettersen is a stroke further back on seven under par.
Korea’s Soo Jin Yang, Bo Mi Suh and rising star Hyo-Joo Kim are within strike at six under par, with defending champion Shanshan Feng and countrywoman Xiyu Lin in a group at five under.
Park, who heads into the weekend as a firm favourite in both the team and individual competitions, took control with two birdies in her first three holes on the Sandbelt Trails course and then picked up further shots at six, eight, 14, 15 and 18.
“I played very solid today,” said Park, 24, from Seoul. “I hit all the greens and the fairways. I hit the ball even better than yesterday and also putted better than yesterday, but I was still having a little bit of a tough time on the greens because the breaks were really tough to read and it seemed like everyone was having the same trouble.”
Pettersen picked up her first shot at the second and had four straight birdies from the sixth, before three-putting on 11. She had an eagle putt on 18, but had to settle for a birdie. “It was a good round of golf and my game is getting better and better,” said the 31-year-old Solheim Cup star from Oslo.
“It’s nice, playing with Inbee and Shanshan: they are making a lot of birdies so you always just trying to push yourself. I’m just trying to go as low as I can. The course is giving a lot of birdie opportunities so I’m trying to be efficient and just as long as the game is in progress I’m very happy.”
China’s World No.5, Feng was two under par for the day when she chipped in for birdie from the side of the 14th hole to get to three under. She doubled the par-3 16th after miss hitting a chip shot and then three-putting, but recovered well on the 462-yard par-5 18th hole with an impressive eagle.
“I’m really happy that I got it back on the last hole because even though it wasn’t a very good strike, the result was good. It was three feet from the hole so I made the eagle,” Feng said. “Inbee played really well for two days and I know I have missed a lot of chances, so I need to play very well over the weekend to catch her.”
The second round will not be completed before sunset at 6.45pm, therefore organisers aim to resume play at approximately 7.10am on Saturday morning before making the cut to the leading 50 professionals and those tied.
In the team event, each country is represented by two players and the result will be determined by the lowest aggregate scores. If a player misses the cut in the individual event, she must play the remaining two rounds to be eligible for the team prize fund. There are 19 teams representing 18 different countries, with two teams from China… but the weekend bodes well for Korea.