Pornanong chases LPGA leaders
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA — Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum is in strong contention heading into the third round of the first major championship of the LPGA season.
- Published: 6/04/2013 at 02:01 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand chips onto the green on the 12th hole during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California on Friday (AFP Photo)
Pornanong shot a 3-under 69 in the second round on Friday to move into a tie for fifth at four under par in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, three shots behind leader Inbee Park.
Finishing in gusty conditions on another hot afternoon at Mission Hills, the South Korean shot a 5-under 67 to reach 7 under.
American Lizette Salas was a stroke back after a 68, and Sweden's Carolina Hedwall (68) and Italy's Giulia Sergas (69) followed at 5 under. Pornanong was tied with Hee Young Park of Korea and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of the US at minus 4.
Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn was tied for 12th at 2 under par. Thidapa Suwannapura made par on Friday but was unable to recover from a disastrous opening round of 79 and missed the cut at 7 over after two rounds.
Pornanong, ranked 50th in the world, is in her third year on the LPGA Tour. She is hoping for a strong weekend to bury the ghosts of her poor results at earlier Kraft Nabisco events. She finished 72nd in 2011 and 56th in 2012.
The 23-year-old went into the event with a confidence boost after finishing tied for third at the Kia Classic in California two weeks ago. It was her best LPGA result although she won last year's Brasil Cup, an exhibition event sanctioned by the tour.
Pornanong is 12th on the money list so far this season with US$143,133 (4.2 million baht) from five starts.
In Friday's second round she had four birdies before a bogey on the final hole prevented her from going 5 under for the tournament.
Park is seeking her second major title after winning the 2008 US Women's Open Championship.
"I putted really good out there, especially on the back nine," Park said. "The wind picked up, so it was tough out there on the back nine. Last four holes, I made all pars. I'm really happy with that."
Park won the LPGA Thailand championship in Pattaya in February after 17-year-old local heroine Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a devastating triple bogey.
Salas got her first look at Mission Hills as a teenager when her father brought her to see Mexican star Lorena Ochoa.
"I remember watching Lorena, and I came out with a little banner for her that said 'You can do it' in Spanish, and I had great memories from outside the ropes," Salas said. "Now, I'm trying to make some from inside the ropes."
The 23-year-old daughter of Mexican immigrants, Salas was introduced to the game when her father, the head mechanic at Azusa Greens Golf Course west of Los Angeles, did some handyman jobs for the club pro and, instead of pay, asked him to teach his daughter to play.
Second-ranked Yani Tseng, the 2010 winner, was 3 over after a 75. Winless in more than a year, the Taiwanese star had a triple-bogey 7 on No. 7 — her 15th hole of the day — after she pulled a 3-wood drive left and out of bounds.
"I'll learn from today and I won't make the same mistakes tomorrow," Tseng said.
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- Writer: Associated Press