Jenny Shin leads Toto Japan Classic by one shot over Ha-Neul Kim
SHIMA, Japan (AP) – Jenny Shin shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over fellow South Korean player Ha-Neul Kim in the LPGA Tour's Toto Japan Classic.
Shin had her second straight bogey-free round at Kintetsu Kashikojima Golf Club, reaching 13 under with a birdie on the par-3 17th and closing with a par.
"I didn't make many mistakes out there," Shin said. "The last few days I've putted great, so that helps. I think that I've gained my confidence back."
Shin moved to Torrance, California, when she was 9 years old and won the 2006 U.S. Girls' Junior at 13. She's winless in her five-year LPGA Tour career.
"There's still one more day and 18 more holes," Shin said. "I heard there is going to be some bad weather tomorrow, so I don't know what will happen. It will probably be shorter because of the rain and the cold. I'm just going to go in with an open mind and try my best."
Kim had a 66. She has one victory this year in her first season on the Japan LPGA Tour.
Angela Stanford was 11 under along with South Korea's Sun-Ju Ahn and Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum. Stanford, tied for the first-round lead with fellow American Ryann O'Toole, followed her opening 65 with a 68.
"It was a good day," Stanford said. "Still hit some good putts, but I think I hit the ball a little better today. Maybe not as close as yesterday, but more solid."
The 37-year-old Stanford won the last of her five LPGA Tour titles in 2012 and has only two top-10 finishes this season.
"I'm happy to have an opportunity to maybe win tomorrow," Stanford said. It will be a lot of fun. I haven't been in this position much this year so I'm excited about it.
"It's a fun golf course to play. There are a lot of birdies to be made and I just have to come out tomorrow and try to make the most."
Ahn, a 19-time winner on the JLPGA, shot a 65, and Phatlum birdied six of the first eight holes in a 66.
O'Toole had a 70 drop into a tie for eighth at 9 under.
Fourth-ranked Lexi Thompson also was 9 under after a 68. The American, playing her first event in Japan, won three weeks ago in South Korea for her second victory of the year.
Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was another stroke back after a 69. She won in 2012 at Kintetsu Kashikojima, overcoming a seven-stroke deficit with a final-round 64.
The American tied for second last week in China, her sixth runner-up finish of the season and the 21st of her career. She won the last of her 11 LPGA Tour titles in June 2014.
Michelle Wie was 1 under after a 73 as she continues to recover from food poisoning. She's one of 21 women to play in all five events on the Asian Swing.
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