Jang leads LPGA Tour finale by 2 shots

Ha Na Jang

Ha Na Jang of South Korea birdied the last two holes to shoot 7-under 65 and take a two-stroke lead over Lydia Ko of New Zealand after two rounds of the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

The 23-year-old Jang, who lives in San Diego, has the lead at the midway point for the fifth time in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour but has yet to claim her first victory.

“My first thinking (she was going to win) is maybe in the Marathon Classic,” said Jang, who won six times on the Korean LPGA Tour. “I played a playoff with Chella Choi my first time (and) I thought of too much, I want to be champion. So I don’t want to think about being leader. I don’t want to think about being champion.

” … After the 16th hole, I think about it a little like I can do this strong finish, I can do birdie, birdie. Yesterday, No. 17 is a birdie. Yesterday, No. 18 just a little miss on the putt. So after No. 16 (today), OK, I got it. Birdie, birdie, I can do this.”

The top-ranked Ko, who leads the Race to the CME Globe, the Vare Trophy and the LPGA Tour Player of the Year standings, was 9-under for the day through 14 holes before going double bogey-bogey at Nos. 15 and 16.

However, Ko rallied for a 67 with birdies on the last two holes.

Cristie Kerr and Jennifer Song posted 69s and were three shots back in a tie for third.

Karine Icher of France carded a bogey-free 67 and was another stroke behind in a tie for fifth with Gerina Piller and Brittany Lincicome, who both had 70s.

Fourth-ranked Lexi Thompson had three birdies in a bogey-free back nine to salvage a 69 and was five shots down in a tie for eighth with Catriona Matthew of Scotland, who also had a 69, Ai Miyazato of Japan, who shot 67, Sei Young Kim of South Korea, who totaled 71, and first-round leader Austin Ernst, who rallied for a 73 after making a triple-bogey 8 on the first hole.

Second-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea wound up at 69 and was tied for 13th, while third-ranked Stacy Lewis was tied for 29th after a 70.


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