Ji-Young Oh, a second-year player from Korea, is the leader at -9 after two rounds of the MasterCard Classic. Taiwanese rookie Yani Tseng is in second place at -7, Eva Dahloff is third at -5 with Na Yeon Choi and Jill McGill tied for fourth at -4.
Tseng was -9 through 13 holes with a four-shot lead but bogeys at 14, 15 and 17 brought her back to the field. Oh birdied three times in a four-hole stretch (12-15) to seize the lead at -8, then birdied 16 to go up by two. Dahloff would have been within three but took a bogey six at 18. Choi’s 66 shared Round of the Day honors with Hee-Won Han (E T13). First-round leader McGill struggled all day but finally birdied at 17 to get into the tie for fourth.
Lorena Ochoa posted a 70 but enters Sunday at +2. If she comes back to win down eleven, it would be a story for the ages. The cut came at +5 and removed Jimin Kang, Erica Blasberg, Ashleigh Simon, Laura Davies and Angela Stanford (a CYA pick) from the field. Stacy Prammanasudh is tied with Ochoa (and 15 others) at +2 so my pick-em streak is drawing to an end. It was good to see Jee Young Lee card a 69 – she’s T22 at +1.
Only twelve players are under par and only seven are within six of the lead, which makes the chance of a Sunday free-for-all unlikely. Even so, the inexperience of the players at the top of the board makes picking a favorite synonymous with a crap-shoot. The final group of Oh, Tseng and Dahllof have never finished better than sixth – at least one of them will wilt under the pressure and if all three do, look for some wily vet like Pat Hurst or Gloria Park (both -3 T6) to make a charge. Not to say that some young ‘un like Amy Yang or Jane Park (both -2 T8) can’t show off some of that championship ability they displayed as junior players. Maybe I can find a Spanish-speaking sports bar with ESPN Desportes tomorrow afternoon…