Yani Tseng doubled her lead and picked up $20 from caddie Jason Hamilton with a 15-foot birdie putt Friday on the final hole in the second round of the Kia Classic.
"When I get to 18, I just told myself, `Let's hit three good shots and I can save 30 minutes of practice today,'" Tseng said. "So, I hit a great drive down the fairway. The second shot was 140 to the pin, and I hit an 8-iron and hit a little cut and finished like 15 feet.
"Before I walked in to the green, I told my caddie, "How about $20 if I make this?" And I made it, and I won $20 hitting the three best shots on the course, and finished happy."
The closing birdie gave the top-ranked Tseng a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke lead over Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak. Tseng, tied for the first-round lead after a 67, had a 9-under 135 total on La Costa's Legends Course.
The 23-year-old Taiwanese star won the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday in Phoenix for her 14th LPGA Tour title and second in four events this year. She led the tour last season with seven victories -- including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open -- and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.
"I'm very confident and very comfortable, too," Tseng said. "I just focus on every day. I had two good days, and hopefully the next days I can keep the rhythm and be patient."
Tseng holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-4 10th, then chipped in for another birdie from just in front of the green on the par-4 13th. She also birdied the par-4 18th.
"I think that's the first time I chipped in from a bunker as a professional," Tseng said. "I was really happy about that."
She had three consecutive birdies starting at No. 3, but bogeyed Nos. 7 and 8.
"I made some stupid mistakes on the front nine," Tseng said. "After that I stayed patience and kept telling myself, `It's OK. You still have nine more holes to go. You can still make some birdies out there.'"
Pak had a 66, birdieing six of her first eight holes. The South Korean star has 25 LPGA Tour victories, the last in the 2010 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
"I'm really enjoying playing golf," Pak said. "Actually, in the winter I was working with my dad. He's my first coach. He helps me a lot and made it very simple. There are no major effects or a lot of routines going on. It's very simple thoughts. So, that helps a lot at the golf course, too.
"At the same time, I felt really comfortable about it, so I guess my swing's getting better and better each week, every tournament. If I make more putts, it will be great. I'm feeling really great."
Jiyai Shin, Alison Walshe, Jodi Ewart and Caroline Hedwall were 5 under. Walshe shot 66, Ewart 69, Shin 71, and Hedwall 72. There were only four rounds in the 60s.
"This is a Korean company sponsor, so it feels like, `Oh, I have to do this,'" Shin said. "I want to win this tournament. A lot of Koreans live here and came to watch us. I feel like I'm ready. It's time."
Walshe hit 16 greens in regulation after hitting only nine in her first-round 73.
"Yesterday, I struggled a bit and left myself with longer length putts," Walshe said. "But today, I was closer and my putts became easier."
Shin has missed one fairway in two rounds.
"My strength is accuracy," Shin said. "I feel really good and am doing really well with my putter."
Brittany Lincicome and Jennifer Johnson were 3 under after shooting 73. Lincicome had her second career hole-in-one on the LPGA Tour, acing the 167-yard sixth with a 5-iron. Johnson is from Carlsbad and a La Costa member.
"I'm right where I need to be for the weekend," Johnson said. "Just a couple under over the next few days, and we'll see where that puts me."
Sandra Gal, the winner last year at Industry Hills, was 4 over after a 76.
Michelle Wie missed the cut with rounds of 77 and 79.
Tseng will play alongside Pak in the third round.
"Especially as an Asian golfer, we all looked up to her," Tseng said. "She was one of the first to have success and we all wanted to be like her. She showed us we can play on the LPGA Tour like her."
Tseng is much more confident playing alongside Pak than she was in the 2008 Canadian Women's Open.
"Unfortunately, I was very nervous. It was the first time I played with her," Tseng said. "It was just a bad time to play with her because I had a four-shot lead, and I was nervous, and there was so much pressure and I didn't win the tournament. I was thinking too much and nervous to play with Se Ri. And I was over-thinking and trying too hard."