Friday, October 11, 2013

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Friday: Ilhee Leads, but Amy Yang (62) and Lexi Thompson (63) Make Up Ground

Ilhee Lee followed up yesterday's 64 with a 65 today to move to -13 at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, but her stellar golf, marred only by her 1st bogey of the week on the par-5 16th, wasn't the story of the day.  That belonged to Amy Yang, who fired a 10-birdie 62 to pull within 5 shots of Lee, as well as Lexi Thompson, who leapfrogged a bunch of players with a 63 highlighted by a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie run on the back 9 that pulled her a mere shot out of the lead.

Last week's winner Shanshan Feng extended her bogey-free run to 36 holes and counting as she fired a 65 that brought her to -10, a single shot ahead of In-Kyung Kim (who shot a 66 despite double bogeying the 2nd hole) and Paula Creamer (who followed up her similar 66 yesterday with a 67 marred by back-to-back bogeys as she finished the front).  Meanwhile, Okinawan teenager Mamiko Higa made 5 birdies in a row to start the back (part of a run that included 6 birdies in 8 holes) and finished her round with 4 straight pars to tie Yang at -8.  Others making big moves today included So Yeon Ryu (65, -7, T8), Karine Icher and Geina Piller (66, -6, T11), Ji-Yai Shin, Michelle Wie, and Pornanong Phatlum (66, -5, T16), and Chella Choi (66, -4, T23).

Lee had better keep the pedal to the metal on moving day.  Suzann Pettersen and Cristie Kerr are only 6 behind her, while Stacy Lewis and Caroline Hedwall are 8 back.  However, with an 18-shot lead on Chie Arimura, 16 on Charley Hull, 15 on Na Yeon Choi, 14 on Karrie Webb and Ya Ni Tseng, 13 on Se Ri Pak, 12 on Inbee Park and Mika Miyazato, 11 on Ai Miyazato and Azahara Munoz, and 10 on Anna Nordqvist, Lee's put a lot of distance between herself and some of her biggest threats.

Let's see if she can keep it going.  It's inevitable that somebody will take a run at her on moving day.  The only question is who--and from how far back?

[Update 1 (10/12/13, 12:08 am):  Here's bangkokbobby!]

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