Korean player Jenny Shin used back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to tie overnight leader and compatriot Eun-Hee Ji at seven-under for the tournament after the second round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.
Shin shot seven birdies against 2 bogies in sporadically windy and rainy conditions at the Miramar Golf Country Club today to close with a five-under 67. Ji, who briefly relinquished her lead to Shin before finishing with a birdie herself at hole 18, managed a 71.
American player Brittany Altomare carded a 68 to sit alone at third at six-under. Australian Su Oh, who brought the house down when she holed out from the 18th fairway for an eagle, shot a low-round-of-the-day 66 to improve her aggregate score to five-under, good for the fourth place.
"I was struggling a bit with speed. And I saw some dark clouds, so I thought... let's finish with some good pars and get out of here, and I ended up making two long birdie putts," sad Shin, who was being very diplomatic when asked what she thought the winning score would be on Sunday. "I would say 10-under if the weather stays like this, because (Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation) chairman Wang doesn't want the score to be too low."
2015 LPGA Taiwan Championship runner-up Ji said she struggled with her putting on the first nine holes, "and I got just a little bit better on the back nine. I think I'm pretty happy to make a birdie on the last (hole)."
At the half-way mark of the USD2.2 million tournament, only 16 players are under-par for the tournament, including Rolex Rankings No. 1 player So Yeon Ryu (three-under), China's top player Shanshan Feng (two-under) and Taiwanese player Pei-Ying Tsai (Two-under).
Tsai, a regular on the Japanese LPGA tour who turned in three top-10 finishes so far this season in Japan, charged up the leaderboard this morning after cruising along with four birdies on the front nine. But she was set back with two bogies on the back nine to close with a three-under 69 and tied for 14th.
Tsai said she felt happy she could take a break from her stint in Japan to come back to Taiwan to play this week. "I managed to secure my status as a seeded player (tour card for 2018) in Japan so I could come back home this week."
2011 LPGA Taiwan Championship winner Yani Tseng, who has been struggling with short putts lately, shot an even-par 72 today to sit at T28 with six players including compatriot Candie Kung, who had trouble reading the grain on the green toady and managed a 74.
"I missed so many short putts today that I almost lost count and the gallery seemed to feel nervous for me when I prepared for a short putt," said Tseng, who somehow dialed in a 30-foot long putt to save par on the final hole. "I don't think you can afford to miss that many short putts if you want to win. So I still need to work on my putting afterwards."
Meanwhile, LPGA regular Wei-Ling Hsu may not have the score she wished for on the golf course today, but she still had lots of fun at a surprise party arranged by organizers to celebrate her birthday. Hsu carded a 75 to tie for 42nd with players including former Rolex Rankings No. 1American star Stacy Lewis, Taiwan's Yu-Ling Hsieh and Taiwanese amateur Yu-Sang Hou.
Round 3 of the 2017 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship will tee off tomorrow from 8:05am at the Miramar Golf Country Club. Starting times for leading Taiwanese players: Pei-Ying Tsai (9:44am; hole 1); Yani Tseng (8:49am; hole 1); Candie Kung (8:38am; hole 1); Wei-Ling Hsu (8:16am; hole 10). The leading group made up of Jenny Shin, Eun-Hee Ji and Brittany Altomare is set to tee off at 10:28am from the first hole. Live TV coverage of round 3 action will be provided by FTV between 12:00 and 16:00.