Inbee Park revealed she felt “betrayed” by her putter as she settled for a share of the halfway lead at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.
Park added a 69 to her opening 64 to close on 11 under par along with her compatriot, Hee Young Park, whose birdie at the last capped a 68 and ensured a tie at the top heading into the weekend at Sentosa Golf Club.
HSBC Women’s World Championship
Solheim Cup star Carlota Ciganda is just three behind after 36 holes, with Lydia Ko only four shots off the pace as she chases back-to-back wins on the LPGA Tour having landed her first win in almost three years at the Lotte Championship a fortnight ago.
Inbee Park did not miss a fairway on day one and was delighted with the consistency of her all-round game, but she found the going a little tougher on Friday and was one over after six holes before getting her title bid back on track with three consecutive birdies.
The seven-time major champion offset another bogey at 12 with birdies at two of the next three holes which hauled her back into the outright lead until her playing partner rolled in her fifth birdie putt of the day on the final green.
“It was a little betrayal of my putter today,” said Inbee Park. “I misread a few putts, but I still feel like I fought pretty well, especially on the front nine. One through six was pretty tough with a lot of opportunities given but nothing was going in.
“I was just trying to get my momentum going, and No 7 definitely did it and from there, the round was a bit easier. I really wanted to make it happen and having birdies on seven, eight and nine was a big help.
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“Obviously there were a lot of opportunities on the back nine was well but it wasn’t a great putting day today. Hopefully I’ll have better days to come next two days. It’s really tough to judge after just one day but I think I made a lot yesterday and obviously today made up for it a little bit I guess.”
At 32, Inbee is a year younger than Hee Young, and she admitted that coping with the stifling heat and humidity in Singapore was proving a tougher challenge now that they’re the wrong side of 30.
“Hee Young and I are almost the same age and we are a little like the oldies on the Tour,” Inbee added. “We were talking about how the weather is just killing us because we are not as young as like 10 years ago.
“But we had great fun out there with Hee Young. She played great. She always has a great swing and she’s a great ball-striker. I’m looking forward to playing with her again and hopefully we play good golf the next two days.”
The two Parks have a two-shot lead over another South Korean, Hyo Joo Kim (68), and China’s Xiyu Lin (68), with Ciganda nicely-placed on eight under after the Spaniard carded six birdies and dropped just one stroke at the 12th.
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Hannah Green’s 66 in the first group of the day proved the low score of the round and lifted the Australian to seven under, a score matched by Ko when she completed her five-birdie 68.
English pair Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Bronte Law also fired 68s to get to six under, with Mel Reid two further back after a 70 featuring two birdies and 16 pars.
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