Lorena Ochoa fired the low round of the day, a 65, to take a one-shot lead at the LPGA Championship. Lindsey Wright is in second place at -9 while first-round co-leader Lorie Kane is third at -8. Rachel Hetherington, Brittany Lang and Ji Young Oh are tied for fourth at -7, three shots behind.
Continuing her quest for the Senorita Slam, Ochoa is right where she wants to be. The last seven times she’s held the 36-hole lead in an event, Lorena has gone on to win. I’d like to be optimistic for you non-Ochoa fans, but those numbers don’t sound good for you. That double she took at 13 yesterday is still the only over-par hole she’s played. Lorena birdied three of her last four holes to finish at -10. Kane made the turn today tied for the lead (Lorena played in the morning wave) but bogeyed 12 and 15 to fall two back. Wright birdied two of her last three holes to reach -9. Annika Sorenstam is four shots back at -6, tied for seventh with the surprising Jin Joo Hong and Marisa Baena and the even more surprising Michelle Ellis. Ellis’ 67 is her low round of the year by four shots. Defending champ Suzann Pettersen is in the bunch at -5 alongside Jee Young Lee, Laura Diaz, Momoko Ueda and surprises Julieta Granada, Kelli Kuehne and Gloria Park.
The cut was at even par all day and that is where it wound up. Gone from this championship are Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis, Song-Hee Kim (all +1), Ai Miyazato (+2), Sophie Gustafson (+4), Teresa Lu and Laura Davies (both +5). Sneaking in under the wire are Jeong Jang, Stacy Prammanasudh, Seon Hwa Lee, Angela Park and Moira Dunn. Mi Hyun Kim shot 70 today and is at -2 T31. I mention Peanut because she was playing without her knee brace today - I hope that means the knee feels stronger than it has in months.
The course is slowly drying out, allowing balls in the fairway to roll a bit today. Lift-clean-place was still in effect, although that is not expected to be the case over the weekend. The greens are starting to release so expect the low scores to begin disappearing tomorrow. Except for probably Ochoa, that is.
Highlights to come.
UPDATE: The LPGA announced today that they will own and operate the LPGA Championship (minus McDonald's or any other corporate entity) beginning with the 2010 event. The biggest development out of this announcement is the fact that the tournament site is as yet undetermined - meaning that Bulle Rock is all but gone after next year's Championship. I can't help but think that this announcement has some relation to the TV contract negotiations currently going on. Time will tell.
UPDATE to the UPDATE: As usual, Mulligan Stu gives a much better explainer to today's announcement than I ever could.