Top-ranked Tseng takes over lead at halfway in LPGA Founders Cup

Yani Tseng at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
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A day after playing a seven-hole stretch on the back nine in 7 under, Yani Tseng opened with nine pars on the same nine on Friday.
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012 | 8:59 p.m.

Yani Tseng had a blunt assessment of her first nine holes Friday in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

"Front nine, it's very sorry," the top-ranked Taiwanese star said.


The LPGA Tour begins its U.S. schedule with the second edition of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, which now features a $1.5 million purse and a four-day, 72-hole format.

She opened with nine pars a day after playing a seven-hole stretch on the same nine holes in 7 under.

"I was like, `Oh, yesterday I make birdie here. How could I make par.' And it was not even close," Tseng said. "A couple holes, I was trying to make safe par, but yesterday it was so easy."

She had three birdies and a bogey on her final nine for a 2-under 70, leaving her at 9-under 135 and a stroke ahead of five players after the second round.

"I played really well today I made lots of good shots, good drives, but I just didn't make enough putts," Tseng said. "But had a good stroke. Some of it was really hard to read, but it's good I make good stroke instead of bad stroke. So I enjoy out there. It's good to play in the morning. It's not too hot."

It was about 80 degrees when Tseng finished and the afternoon high was 87.

Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi was second along with fellow South Korean players I.K. Kim and Meena Lee and Japan's Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato.

"I'm very satisfied what I did today," said Choi, who had a 69. "The weather is good like yesterday, but I heard tomorrow and Sunday the weather will be a little cold and windy, so I have to prepare for that. I think I'm in good position right now, but I have two more rounds."

Kim had a 66, Lee and Mika Miyazato shot 67, and Ai Miyazato had a 68.

"I played in the afternoon yesterday, so the fairways and greens were pretty firm, but this morning it was really soft," Ai Miyazato said. "And I thought I can be more aggressive, but I was a little bit impatient on the front nine, but on the back nine I made some putts, so I'm very happy with that.

Tseng successfully defended her Honda LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA Tour victory. 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.

"The next two days are very important, but I will keep the same strategy, be aggressive and try to make more birdies as I can and play smart, and two more days to come," Tseng said. "I love this golf course. And by hitting good driver, I think I have a lot of chances to win."

Paula Creamer (68) was two strokes back along with defending champion Karrie Webb (69), Karen Sjodin (68), Inbee Park (69), Jiyai Shin (71) and Hee Young Park (72). Park was tied with Tseng for the first-round lead after a 65.

"I hit 16 greens today," Creamer said. "I gave myself a ton of chances. I could have gotten so much lower than 68. But I'm pretty pleased with how I hit the ball, and I hit a lot of great putts, just they didn't go in, but saving them for the weekend in a sense, and I just feel very confident out here.

She tied for second last year in the inaugural event.

"I like this golf course a lot," Creamer said. "It fits my eye well, and once I get on a roll with making putts, then I think I can go pretty low out here by how well my ball-striking is."