Saturday March 2, 2013
Lewis in control in Singapore to boost No. 1 bid
SINGAPORE: American Stacy Lewis took a step forward in her quest to replace Tseng Yani as women’s world No.1 as she shot a red-hot six-under 66 to seize control of the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament yesterday.
The world No. 4 started the day two back from overnight leader Azahara Munoz, but she holed three birdies on both the front and back nine to head into the weekend two shots clear at Singapore’s par-72 Sentosa Golf Club.
Snapping at the heels of her 11-under total of 133 were Choi Na-yeon, the world No. 2, fellow South Korean Chella Choi, 17-year-old Thai sensation Ariya Jutanugarn, and Paula Creamer, who is battling whiplash injuries from a car crash last week.
First round leader Munoz, of Spain, and South Korea’s Yoo Sun-young were also among the six players bracketed at nine-under 135.
Taiwan’s Yani, who has topped the rankings for 107 weeks but is now defending a dramatically reduced lead, got off to a bad-tempered start when she mis-hit her first tee shot and gesticulated at a photographer.
The 24-year-old then double-bogeyed the fourth hole and couldn’t repair the damage, ending the day with 73 and eight shots adrift of Lewis, with her hopes diminishing of a first win in nearly a year.
Lewis led last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand before being overhauled on day three by Ariya, and she will be looking over her shoulder at the young Thai who matched her score of 66, highlighted by a sizzling iron shot to one foot on the 18th.
The 28-year-old American said a shift in her putting grip and a reminder to stay relaxed could help her stay in front as she seeks the sixth LPGA victory of her career.
“I’ve had leads and each one is a little bit different. Last week my putter just went sideways, I don’t know what happened,” she said. “But I feel a lot more comfortable with my putter this week.
“You just can’t try too hard, and the biggest thing for me is being very patient. You can’t force things and I think last week I definitely was trying to force some putts and hit them too hard and through breaks.”
Lewis, who spent most of her teenage years in a back brace to correct a curve in her spine, also said her goal remained being crowned world No.1, which now looks a realistic prospect after Yani’s dominance faded last season. — AFP