Pettersen takes 3-stroke lead at LPGA Thailand


LPGA Tour _newPATTAYA, Thailand –Former champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway led the field with an 8-under 64 Friday to grab a three-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the LPGA Thailand event at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

Despite changeable weather fluctuating between sun and rain, the 2007 champion remained bogey free for two rounds, with a total of 14-under 130, the best two-round performance in the tournament’s history.

“I’ve hit a lot of fairways so far which helps,” Pettersen said. “Coming out of the rough here is hard. I’m rolling the ball well on these greens and enjoying being out there.”

Trailing her was last year’s runner-up, Hee Young Park of South Korea, who hit an error-free round of 66 to finish on an 11-under 133, one shot ahead of Japan’s Ai Miyazato, who carded her second straight 67.

“I started the second round with two easy birdies. After that it rained a little bit, which confused my thinking,” said Park.

Like Pettersen, the 24-year-old Miyazato heads into the weekend rounds without any bogeys.

“I played a steady round,” Miyazato said. “I missed some greens but made a lot of good par putts. I’m happy to have no bogeys.

“Today it was really hot but there was a bit of rain. That helped a lot as it was cooler.”

Momoko Ueda of Japan hit a 65 for a 9-under total of 135 to take joint-fourth place with Song-Hee Kim of South Korea and Sweden’s Maria Hjorth.

A stroke behind in seventh was sixth-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan, who hit a round of 68 for a total of 136. Australian Karrie Webb, Nontaya Srisawang, the top scorer among five Thai players, and Catriona Matthew of Scotland shared eighth position on 138.

Michelle Wie, who was followed around the course by hundreds of fans, followed up her par round on Thursday with a 4-under 68. Wie fired six birdies against two bogeys to finish with a two-day total of 140, to stand 13th.

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa played inconsistently to leave her with a 3-under total of 141.

“I felt rusty at the beginning. It’s the second round of the year. So I am trying to get the feeling back,” said Ochoa, who added she remained optimistic about her chances.

Meanwhile, Paula Creamer was forced to withdraw due to an injury to her left hand. Creamer sustained injuries during much of last season.

The 23-year-old American got hurt on the 17th hole Thursday. She finished her round in tears and went to a local hospital after carding a round of 69.