Inbee Park leads in LPGA
WATERLOO, Ontario -- South Korea's Inbee Park birdied her final two holes for a 7-under 64 and a one-stroke lead Friday in the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
The 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion had a 9-under 133 total at Grey Silo. She holed a 50-foot putt on the ninth hole for the last of her eight birdies, had one bogey and only 22 putts.
"I played great today," Park said. "I hit the ball very well and especially hit my short irons really good, so I gave myself a lot of opportunities and obviously putted very good today."
Seven players were unable to complete play Friday because of darkness. Rain Thursday forced the suspension of first-round play until Friday morning, delaying the start of the second round.
China's Shanshan Feng, coming off a major victory two weeks ago in the LPGA Championship, was a stroke back along with Brittany Lang and South Korea's Hee Kyung Seo. Feng and Seo shot 68, and Lang had a 65.
"I've been working really hard at being focused on every shot," Lang said. "I lose my focus pretty easy, so that's been my goal and I'm doing it pretty well. It's going to be my goal on the weekend to just try to be in every shot, so if I can do that, I'll be right here on Sunday and I'll be happy."
Rookie Sandra Changkija, the first-round leader after a 63, was 7 under after a 72. U.S. Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu (65) also was in the group at 7 under along with Lexi Thompson (69), Karin Sjodin (68), Katie Futcher (67), Chella Choi (66) and Sun Young Yoo (67).
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, a two-time winner this season, was 6 under after a 64.
"I just putted a lot better," Lewis said. "I think yesterday I didn't have very good feel around the greens and I finally got some putts to go in today. It was actually a really easy day, so it was nice."
Michelle Wie, trying to break out of a season-long slump, shot her second straight 70, breaking par for only the third time in 19 rounds this year. She also made her first cut of the season.
In calm conditions, the players were able to take advantage of the rain-softened greens.
"I didn't find the fairways being much soft, but the greens are really, really softer than yesterday because yesterday, some of the holes it was almost impossible to stop it, so it was playing really tough and it was really windy, too," Park said. "So today a lot calmer and the greens were softer, so I think it was really scoring conditions today."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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