Lorena Ochoa leads by one at the halfway point of the Corona Championship. Her round of 66 (-14 overall) was just enough to keep her ahead of second-place Inbee Park’s 64 (-13). First-round co-leader Song-Hee Kim is third at -11, Na Yeon Choi is fourth at -9 while Sun Young Yoo is fifth at -8.
Ochoa collected her third eagle in two days at the 10th and added five birdies while bogeying none. Amazingly, Park bogeyed twice but birdied 11 times (!) to equal her career-best round, set at the 2007 Safeway Classic. For the second time this year, Kim has opened with two sub-70 rounds (69 today) to keep herself in contention. Song-Hee did the same at the Fields Open before fading to a final-round 76 and T15 finish. This is the kind of stuff we were expecting from the 2006 Futures Tour champ at this time last year. Yoo fired a 65 to vault into the Top 5. Veteran Kim Williams stayed in the Top 10 with a 73 (-4 T9). Players who made big Friday moves were Sophie Giquel (69 -6 7th place), Karine Icher (66 -5 8th) and Dina Ammaccapane (69 -3 T11). The two “other” Top 30 players in attendance both made mildly positive strides – Brittany Lincicome posted another 72 to reach -2 and T15 while Hee-Won Han carded 71 to go -1 and T23.
Alena Sharp (74 -2 T16) and Audra Burks (76 -1 T22) fell back a ways from their first-round plateaus. The cut crested at +7, allowing Minea Blomqvist, Sarah Kemp, Erica Blasberg and Amy Yang to sneak in and secure some kind of a Sunday paycheck. Only 25 players are heading home - Michelle McGann, Lorie Kane, Virada Nirapathpongporn and the lovely Anna Rawson among them.
You’ll notice that only eight players are less than ten shots from the lead with 36 holes to play. That, coupled with the fact that the leader is knocking on the Hall of Fame’s door at age 26 while her pursuers are not, makes this one primo blowout material. The best a non-Ochoa fan can hope for is a three-or-four player Saturday shootout where Lorena doesn’t post yet another 66 to render Sunday moot. I am rooting for the Spitfire to clinch this weekend but it would be nice if somebody can make her work for it.