Published: Friday October 12, 2012 MYT 8:58:00 PM
Defending champ Choi takes outright lead
KUALA LUMPUR - Defending champion Choi Na-Yeon of South Korea took the outright lead at the halfway stage of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Friday after firing 67 for a two-day total of 10-under 132.
Choi leads American Sydnee Michaels by two strokes, while joint first round leader Karrie Webb could only shoot a 71 to lie joint seventh on a six-under 136.
But there was disaster for Taiwanese amateur Min Lee, who was joint leader after round one, when she was disqualified for signing a four on the par-4 13th, when she made a five.
The 17-year-old, who was also disqualified at last month's Taiwan Amateur Championship for signing an incorrect scorecard, had shot a 73 for the second round.
Her compatriot and World No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a one-over 72 for an eight-over 150, continuing a dismal tournament that sees her a massive 18 strokes behind Choi.
Choi, as usual, had a large crowd following her and while she conceded it was a little unnerving trying to please them, she kept her composure to fire in six birdies against two bogeys.
"Of course I'm aware the fans are eager for me to defend my title and I will do all I can to please them to retain the title," said the South Korean, who dropped her shots at the back nine.
"I had two bogeys because I find that the back nine is tougher than the first nine," added Choi, who bogeyed the 11th and 17th holes, while birding the third, fifth, sixth, 10th, 12th and 13th holes.
"The 17th is the hardest hole on this course and I have to be careful the next two days. We can't control how others play their golf, we can only wait and watch what they do and how they fare.
"There are several girls here who are capable of shooting six- or seven-under each round so I'm not taking anything for granted."
Michaels had a hot putter from the 11th which saw her sink five consecutive birdies to end with seven birdies against a lone bogey.
"I made really good putts today. I've been working on my putts for a month now and it is really paying off," said Michaels, who was 2011 Rookie of the Year on the Symetra Tour.
Meanwhile, American Lizette Salas had the biggest cheer when she aced the 15th hole. She is tied for third with Suzann Pettersen, Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda on seven-under 135.
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia features a star-studded cast of LPGA golfers, vying for a cut of the US$1.9 million purse. - AFP