CARLSBAD (CNS) - Yani Tseng holds a two-shot lead over LPGA Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak entering Saturday's third round of the $1.7 million Kia Classic at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Tseng, a native of Taiwan who is first in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, began Friday's second round on the South Course with a share of the lead with two other golfers. She took sole possession of the lead by firing a four-under-par 68, despite bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes.
"I made some little stupid mistakes on the front nine," said Tseng, the winner of two of the LPGA's four tournaments this year, including the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, which concluded Sunday in Phoenix, and five of her last 11 tournaments.
"On No. 7, I hit a terrible shot. I don't remember when is the last time I hit that shot. On No. 8, I chopped a little bit."
Tseng began the back nine by holing a bunker shot for a birdie on the par-4 10th hole. She said it was her first hole-out as a professional in a tournament.
Tseng had a chip-in with a wedge on the par-4 13th hole for another birdie and closed out the round with a birdie on the par-4 18th to go to nine-under-par 135 for the tournament.
"I was very happy that I finished with four-under today and hitting the driver much better on the fairway," Tseng said.
Tseng has had six birdies in each of her two rounds in the tournament.Pak, a South Korea ranked 38th, began the round four shots back of the leaders, then fired a six-under-par 66, with birdies on six of the first eight holes
Jodi Ewart, Alison Walshe, Caroline Hedwall and Jiyai Shin are tied for third at five-under-par 139, four shots behind Tseng.
Walshe matched Pak with the low round of the tournament, six-under-par 66."I was hitting the ball really well off the tee which gave me a lot of opportunities to attack the pins," said Walshe, a Westford, Mass. resident who is ranked 129th. "My putter was really working well (Friday). I made a few long ones, which really helps, and then I converted on the short ones, so
everything came together."
Carlsbad resident Jennifer Johnson shot a one-over-par 73 to fall into a tie for seventh at three-under-141, six shots behind Tseng, after beginning the round one shot off the lead.
Johnson had two bogeys and a birdie on the front nine and one birdie and one bogey the back nine.
"I just want to get back to the way I played (Thursday), hitting fairways and greens and get rid of the three putts," said Johnson, who shot a four-under-par 68 in the first round.
Michelle Wie was among the players missing the cut as what began as a 144-player field was reduced to the low 70 scores plus ties at the conclusion of Friday's play.
The tournament is scheduled to conclude Sunday. The winner will receive $255,000.