Pressel moves in front at LPGA Championship


Associated Press

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Morgan Pressel slogged through rain and muck to take the lead Saturday after two rounds in the LPGA Championship. Next up is a 36-hole marathon today.

“I run a lot,” Pressel said, laughing. “I’m in plenty good of enough shape to get through 36 holes tomorrow.”

She shot a 2-under 70 at Locust Hill to reach 6-under 138 — two shots ahead of the top-ranked Inbee Park and Chella Choi in the second LPGA Tour major of the season.

Park had a 68 and joined Honolulu’s Michelle Wie in shooting the second-round’s lowest score in carding five birdies and a bogey-5 on No. 14 to give herself an opportunity to add to her three wins already this season, including the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. Choi struggled with a 73 to relinquish her first-round lead.

Jiyai Shin, Amy Yang and Sarah Jane Smith were tied for fourth at 3 under. And there were seven more players at 1 under or better after two rounds, which should make for a long and topsy-turvy final day.

The change in schedule came after nearly five inches of rain fell Thursday, forcing officials to postpone the first round.

The forecast for today is promising, calling for sunny conditions and temperatures in the high 70s.

From Boca Raton, Fla., Pressel is attempting to end a string of eight straight majors won by Asian-born players.

Pressel also hasn’t won since claiming the Kapalua LPGA Classic in 2008. A year earlier, at the age of 18, she won the Kraft Nabisco to become the youngest LPGA player to win a major.

“It was a long time ago. I’ve been through a lot since then,” Pressel said. “A lot has happened in golf and life. But that being said, I’ve done it before. So I just need to go out there and remember that I can do it, and just get it done.”

Wie put herself back in the hunt. She was at even par after a 68 to match not only her best round of the season, but best in six appearances at Locust Hill.

She credited her five-birdie, one-bogey round to being more patient and laying off her driver, which Wie blamed on costing most of her strokes a day earlier.

“I’m starting to understand this golf course a little more every year,” said Wie, who missed the cut last year at Locust Hill with a two-round total of 12-over 156.

“I’ve tried a lot of different things on this golf course over the past couple of years. And in some conditions, if you’re feeling great, (hitting driver) does work. But sometimes it will nip you in the butt if you get a little greedy here.”

At the very least, Wie is hoping she’s found a groove while attempting to build off last week, when she had a season-best ninth-place tie at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

“Shooting 68 today, really gives me the confidence,” she said.

Defending champion Shanshan Feng also was even after a 70.

ST. JUDE CLASSIC: Rookie Shawn Stefani overcame a quadruple bogey and shot a 4-under 66 to take the third-round lead in Memphis, Tenn.

The 31-year-old Texan, who earned his way onto the PGA Tour by finishing sixth on the Web.com Tour money list in 2012, blew a two-stroke lead with the quadruple bogey on No. 11, but rebounded with four birdies over his final five holes to move back atop the leaderboard. He had eight birdies to go with that quadruple bogey to reach 12-under 198 at TPC Southwind.

Harris English was a stroke back after a 69, finishing out of the lead for the first time this week.

Scott Stallings, Patrick Reed and Nicholas Thompson were 8 under. Stallings had a 67, Reed shot 64, and Thompson had a 66. Phil Mickelson was another stroke back after a 65.

REGIONS TRADITION: David Frost birdied the 16th and 17th holes en route to a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples after the third round in Birmingham, Ala.

Frost, the South African who won the Toshiba Classic in March for his fourth Champions Tour title, had four birdies on the final eight holes to move to 12-under 205 in the major championship.

Couples, the Presidents Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Famer, shot a bogey-free 68.

LYONESS OPEN: Dutchman Joost Luiten shot a 5-under 67 to extend his lead to three strokes after the third round in Atzenbrugg, Austria.

 

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