Spieth takes control at Ping Invitational

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STILLWATER, Okla.  –  Jordan Spieth of Dallas notched five straight birdies during his second consecutive round of 69 at Karsten Creek, which has given him an seven-shot advantage heading into Monday’s final round at The Ping Invitational. First-round leader Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., carded a 74 Sunday and her 3-under-par total is one shot clear of the Girls Division field.

Spieth was able to build a big lead despite getting off to a slow start. He bogeyed the par-3 third hole and was two shots behind Yi Keun Chang, who was 4-under-par after making birdies on No. 1 and No. 3. But birdies on six of his next 10 holes, including five in a row on Nos. 9-13, catapulted Spieth to the top of the leaderboard.

“Before that, I was just playing consistently,” said Spieth, who won The PING Invitational in 2008. “I had some wedges in my hand and I wanted to fire at some pins. At Karsten Creek, that could mean birdies or that could mean bogeys or doubles. I was very fortunate that they landed in the right spots and I got the putts to drop.”

After the bogey on No. 3, the only blemish on Spieth’s scorecard was a double bogey on No. 16. But after losing his tee shot, Spieth was happy to make his 12-footer for double bogey because it “stopped the bleeding.” Pars on Nos. 17 and 18 put him at 6-under-par through 36 holes.

“It’s nice to have a little cushion tomorrow, but then again it’s Karsten Creek, so my lead doesn’t mean anything,” Spieth said. “I want to set my own goals and shoot under-par again tomorrow.”

Last year’s champion, Emiliano Grillo of Bradenton, Fla., is in second at 1-over-par after carding an even-par 72 on Sunday. Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., improved 10 positions and is in third at 2-over-par after a second-round 71. Three players are tied for fourth at 3-over-par: Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y.; Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla.; and Yi Keun Chang of Diamond Bar, Calif.

In the Girls Division, Kyung Kim started her second round right where she left off Saturday. Birdies on Nos. 3 and 5 put her at 7-under-par for the tournament, but that’s as low as she was able to go. She finished with a second-round 74 but is still in the lead at 3-under-par.

“The course was playing a lot harder today because it was windier, so that made club selections hard,” Kim said. “My confidence level is pretty high, but it’s not often that I lead after a couple days, so I’m actually kind of nervous. I just hope that I’m able to hit good shots tomorrow.”

Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, sisters from Bangkok, Thailand, will join Kim in Monday’s final pairing after each recorded even-par rounds of 72. Moriya is second at 2-under-par, while Ariya is third at 1-under-par. Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., fired a 2-under-par 70, the day’s best round in the Girls Division, and is tied for fourth with Shannon Aubert of Orlando, Fla., at even-par.