U.S. Women’s Open Day 2: Korean trio tops second-round leaderboard

Colombia's Mariajo Uribe signs autographs during Friday's second round of the 2016 U.S. Women's Open at Cordevalle Golf Club in San Martin.

While the world’s top ranked female golfer Lydia Ko made her move back into contention at the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, a trio of Korean competitors landed in the top three spots of Friday’s second-round leaderboard at Cordevalle Golf Club in San Martin.
Ko, a New Zealander, shot a stellar 6-under-66 in her morning grouping to climb into a tie for fourth overall with a two-day 5-under-139. That came before first-round leader Mirim Lee, of the Republic of Korea, even hit her initial drive off the first tee box.
“It was a very slow start,” said Ko, who bogeyed her first hole. “But I made a really good birdie on 3 and the string of birdies from 3 to, I think, 6 definitely made the round turn around.”
Ko birdied four straight and five of six from the third to eighth holes and then remained steady on the back nine with a birdie on 11 and another to complete her round on 18.
“It’s always good to end up with a birdie,” Ko concluded.
Not to be outdone was United States Golf Association rookie Sung Hyun Park, who matched the low 6-under round to shoot to the top of the second-round leaderboard with an 8-under-136 total.
“Coming to the tournament, I didn’t even think about winning because this is the first time for me,” the Korean said. “I’m trying to enjoy this tournament. That’s why I am just more comfortable, don’t even think about the winning, I just enjoy the play. That’s why it happened today.”
Park, who also benefited from an early tee time before the temperatures heated up and the wind kicked in, birdied three on the front nine and four on the back nine with her only hiccup coming with a bogey on 17.
Fellow Korean Amy Yang, who was sitting pretty with a 5-under-67 after the first round, hung tough with a 1-under-71 on Friday, only two strokes behind her Park with a 6-under-138 two-round tally.
“Just like another day,” Yang said. “Not going to think much, just get out there, do my best every hole.”
Yang started rocky on the back nine (her front) with a bogey on 10 and 12, but recovered well with a birdie on 15 and then a string of four in a row on holes 18, 1, 2 and 3.
“Because the course is so challenging out there, I can’t be aggressive every hole,” Yang explained. “So I just let go of the pressure, and then the feeling you want to go aggressive, just let it go and do whatever you can out there.”
Mirim Lee, who was the first-round leader with an 8-under-64, overcame a rough patch Friday, which included a double bogey on 10, to finish in a tie with Yang at 6-under for second heading into Saturday’s third round.
“I think today the course was tough,” said Mirim Lee, who had trouble with the late afternoon winds. “And so I keep trying to hit the fairway and the green, but I couldn’t. So score, it’s not bad, but not good, too.”
Lee birdied three of her last four on the front nine prior to the mishap on 10. She recorded four bogies to match four birdies for the round.
Japan’s Haru Nomura fired a 3-under-69 to surge into a tie with Ko in fourth for a 139 two-day total. Nomura had four birdies and one bogey Friday.
“If I think it’s getting too hard, everybody thinks it’s getting too hard, too,” said Nomura of Friday’s second-round course conditions. “I just did what I did, my patience, my own skill, everything.”
Top American Danielle Kang sits in a four-way tie for sixth and within striking distance after two rounds with a 3-under-69 on day two to drop to a 4-under-140 for the tournament.
“I feel really great being in contention. That was my goal for the first two days and keeping it in the red number,” said Kang, who makes her home in Las Vegas. “(I was) being patient and just taking it shot by shot.”
Kang was even through the first nine with two birdies (Nos. 5, 9) and two bogies (Nos. 4, 8) before rattling off three birdies on the back nine, including back-to-back on 14 and 15.
“You have to be patient, and you have to keep it consistent,” Kang said. “And it’s a U.S. Open, so just keep yourself in contention and see what happens.”
Fellow American Jessica Korda, Korea’s Eun Hee Ji, and Kelly Tan, of Malaysia, all sit tied for sixth with totals of 4-under-140.
“The course just kept playing tougher. And obviously playing in the afternoon is just going to get hotter and hotter out there,” said Tan, who carded a 4-under-68 in the second round. “I’m happy with the way I played today.”
It was a disappointing U.S. Open for former teen phenom Michelle Wie, who missed the 4-over cut by one stroke to miss the weekend’s championship rounds. Wie finished with a 5-over 149 (75-74).
Other notables making the cut and qualifying for weekend play were: 2007 Open Champion Cristie Kerr (2-under-142) San Jose’s Christina Kim (1-over-145); American Paula Creamer (4-over-148); Australian Karrie Webb (2-over-146); and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez (even).

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