Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Thursday and Friday: Munoz and Nordqvist Leading Tseng and Kung

The top of the 36-hole leaderboard at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship is bunched by nationality.  Azahara Munoz and Anna Nordqvist at -7 from Europe lead, followed by Ya Ni Tseng and Candie Kung at -5 from Taiwan, Amy Yang, Hee Young Park, and Hee-Won Han at -4 from South Korea, Katie Futcher at -4 from the USA, Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato at-3 from Japan, and Suzann Pettersen, Catriona Matthew, and Alison Walshe at -3 from Europe (although it should be noted that both Kung and Walshe are American citizens).  At a wet, warm, windy, water-filled, and spectator-flooded Sunrise Golf & Country Club, Munoz set a tournament record with a bogey-free 66 on Friday to eclipse opening 68s by Tseng and Ai Miyazato that were matched by Kung the next day.

But the big question is how many of the leaders can keep it going throughout the weekend.  So far, Nordqvist is the only one in the field to break 70 twice, only 11 golfers have broken par in each round, only 18 are under par at the halfway point, plenty of players have stumbled after good starts--most notably Inbee Park (70-74), Morgan Pressel (69-75), and Jennifer Song (69-77)--and many big names haven't gotten it out of neutral, including Na Yeon Choi (72-72), Stacy Lewis (73-72), Ji-Yai Shin (74-73), Brittany Lang (75-72), and In-Kyung Kim (75-73).  With heavy undulations on fairways and greens adding an extra degree of difficulty when it comes to getting the ball close to the pin, it's going to be as hard for those in the chase pack to make up ground on the leaders as it will be for the leaders to keep the pedal to the metal.

Will anyone starting early on moving day make a statement on Saturday?  Or will the leaders achieve some separation on the rest of the field?  I know the answers, but I'm not telling until after I've finished watching the 2nd- and 3rd-round coverage!

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