Annika Sorenstam shot a 2-under-par 70 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the Nichirei Cup World Ladies tournament, her last tournament before playing in the PGA Tour’s Colonial.
Sorenstam had three birdies and one bogey on the Tokyo Yomiuri course to finish 36 holes at 8-under 136. Japan’s Junko Yasui, tied with Sorenstam after the first round, was second after a 71.
“Today’s round wasn’t as solid as yesterday’s,” said Sorenstam, who shot a 66 Thursday. “I wasn’t hitting the ball like I wanted to and was short on almost every green.”
Sorenstam, set to face the men in two weeks in Fort Worth, Texas, had her first birdie of the day on the par-5 sixth hole, hitting a sand wedge to 11 feet and making the uphill putt.
The Swedish star reached 8-under with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 14, but dropped a stroke on the next hole when her approach found the greenside bunker and she two-putted for bogey. She added a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th to return to 8-under.
“The wind made it very difficult,” Sorenstam said. “I kept throwing grass up to check the direction and it was different every time.
“My driving is very good. My putting and chip shots are pretty good but not perfect and occasionally lead to mistakes that result in bogeys.”
Yasui also birdied the 17th, but closed with a bogey on the par-3 18th to finish one stroke back.
Hamilton steps up
ITO, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) American Todd Hamilton shot a 4-under-par 67 to take sole possession of the lead midway through the Fujisankei Classic on Friday.
Due to darkness Thursday, a total of 24 players had to play the remainder of the first as well as the second round on Friday.
Hamilton, winner of seven tournaments in his 16-year career on the JGTO, carded a birdie on the front nine and added four more after making the turn against a lone bogey for a 36-hole total of 8-under 134 on the par-71 course.
Ryoken Kawagishi, a first-round co-leader with Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki by carding a 64 after playing his remaining two first-round holes, moved to the top of the leaderboard with a birdie on No. 7.
But his lead proved to be short lived as he bogeyed three of his last seven holes for an even-par and is tied for the second place with Kiyoshi Murota at 135. Murota, overnight runnerup, fashioned a 70.
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