South Korea’s Jiyai Shin carded a superb eight under par 64 to move into a commanding five shot lead after the second round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool.
The 2008 champion started the day a single shot behind compatriots, Haeji Kang and So Yeon Ryu, but stormed to the turn in six under par 31 and then came home in two under par 33 to leave the rest of the strong international field trailing in her wake.
The diminutive Shin goes into the tomorrow morning’s penultimate round on nine under par 135 and with a five shot lead over her compatriot Inbee Park who returned a four under par 68 to claim outright second place on 140.
Japan’s Mika Miyazako and Australia’s Karrie Webb both carded two under par rounds of 70 to share third place on three under par 141 while America’s Katie Futcher is alone in fifth place on 142 after a second successive 71.
The leading amateur in the field is World No. 1, Lydia Ko. A couple of weeks ago the 15 year-old from New Zealand won the CN Canadian Open to become the youngest player ever to win an official LPGA Tour title and she added a one under par 71 to her opening 72 to claim a share of sixth place with Japan’s Ai Miyazato, Sweden’s Carin Koch, South Korea’s Jenny Shin and America’s Vicky Hurst on one under par 143.
Shin won last week’s Kingsmill tournament on the LPGA Tour and she may well complete a rare double after a superb round in which hit all 18 greens in regulation and missed just one fairway from the tee.
The South Korean started with an eagle three on the 493-yard par-5 10th where she holed a pitch from 30 yards. She also birdied the 382-yard par-4 11th, the 397-yard par-4 12th and the 151-yard par-3 13th before moving further ahead of her rivals with a four on the 519-yard par-5 16th where she laid up in three and then got up-and-down from 60 yards.
The wind start to rise as Ko entered her second nine of the day but that did not stop her firing seven pars and two further birdies on the 358-yard par-4 4th and the 383-yard par-4 7th to go into the last round with a great chance to claim her second Ricoh Women’s British Open title.
“That might well be the best round I have ever played,” said the 24 year-old who lost her mother in a car accident when she was only 16 and missed a couple of months of this season after an operation to solve a wrist problem.
“I hit a nine under par round when I won (last week) at Kingsmill but this is a really tough course so this round might have been even better.
“Today I was bogey-free and bunker free. I hit all 18 greens and missed just one fairway. This week my goal was to score one under par every day so to hit eight under is very special.
“I love coming back over here. The win here in 2008 changed my life and I have got lots of fans in England. Today there were a lot of people out there and they kept cheering me on.
“It has been a fantastic day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” she added. I have got a five shot lead but on this course you never know what’s going to happen. There are a lot of great players out here. I’m just going to keep focussed on myself.”
Inbee Park will start the final day as Shin’s nearest rival. She played the opening 36-holes in the same group as the leader and will accompany here over the last 36 holes after rounds of 72 and 68.
Park began her second round with a birdie on the 10th and added another on the 457-yard par-4 17th before carding an eagle-3 on the 18th. She went on to play the remaining nine holes in level par 35 after a birdie on the 392-yard 1st and her only bogey of the day on the treacherous 405-yard par-4 3rd.
“I’ve been playing the back nine well all week,” said the 24 year-old from Seoul. “I’m going to need lots of patience tomorrow but I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s a really great golf course. You can feel the history of the golf course. It’s great.”
Ko was one of four amateurs who made the cut and will now be battling it out over the last 36-holes to claim the Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur who completes all 18 holes. Ko is currently on one under par 143 and two shots ahead of English Curtis Cup player, Holly Clyburn, who eagled the last for a 73 and a total of 145. Clyburn’s Curtis Cup colleague, Bronte Law, posted a 71 to sit one shot further back while China’s Jing Yang moved up to a share of 42nd place on 149 after a fine three under par 69.
Amateur, Charley Hull, opened with a one under par 71 but fell away with an eight over par 80 which saw her miss out on 151. A total of 57 players made the cut on 149 or better. Among the others to fail to make the last 36 holes were Sophie Gustafson (150), Suzann Pettersen (151), Anna Nordqvist (152), Caroline Hedwall (153), Carly Booth (154), Brittany Lincicome (155) and Karen Stupples (157). Laura Davies withdrew mid-way through her second round suffering from an Achilles injury.