GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP)—Jiyai Shin took a big step toward adding the LPGATour player of the year award to her top rookie trophy, shooting a 6-under 66 onFriday for a three-stroke lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The 21-year-old South Korean star, a three-time winner this year who has afour-point lead over Ochoa in the player of the year race, had an 11-under 133total on the Guadalajara Country Club course.
“I don’t know much (about) this course, so I try to just play safe,” Shinsaid. “Like just the middle of the fairway, just the middle of the green andmake it a very simple game. … I have found my tempo—great tempo. So I have areally good feeling.”Ai Miyazato, from Japan, sets …
AP - Nov 13, 8:22 pm EST
Michelle Wie (66) and Paula Creamer (69) were tied for second, andfirst-round leader Song-Hee Kim (72) was four strokes back at 7 under. SuzannPettersen (67), Brittany Lincicome (70), Cristie Kerr (70), Brittany Lang (70)and Mariajo Uribe (72) were 5 under.
Ochoa was 4 under after a 69 on her home course.
“I’m OK,” Ochoa said. “It was a better round today, but I’m still alittle behind. I hope the weekend will be better.”
If Shin wins this week she’ll wrap up the player of the year award if Ochoafails to finish at least seventh. If not, the title will be decided next week inHouston in the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. Nancy Lopez is the onlyplayer to win both the rookie and player awards in the same season,accomplishing the feat in 1978.
“I’m just focusing on the game this week and not thinking about that at themoment,” said Shin, who took the outright lead with a birdie at 13 and addedbirdies on 14 and 15 to get to 11 under.
Shin also leads the money list with $1,709,168. Ai Miyazato, 10 strokes backafter a 72, is second with $1,468,679.
Wie, winless on the LPGA Tour, eagled the 10th to reach 6 under. She hit two3-woods and made a 5-foot putt. She added three birdies after that, though shedropped a shot on 17 when she missed a 4-foot putt.
“I do feel really close,” said Wie, who has two second-place finishes thisyear. “I feel like I need to shoot a lot lower and play a lot better over theweekend. But if everything works out, hopefully it will be the week.”
Her only nagging problem is a sprained left ankle that forced her to wear alarge, black brace that extends 6 inches above her shoe top.
Asked if it was hurting her game, she replied: “I don’t know. I don’t wantto think about it.”
Creamer has eight career wins, but she’s been shut out this season and alsois nursing injuries and illness.
She’s been fighting off-and-on stomach problems since playing in the event ayear ago. She’s lost up to 15 pounds in a few stretches, she said. The illnesshas popped up after tournaments around the world—and in the United States.,too. Hoping to beat it, she’s carrying her own food with her.
She reached 8 under with a birdie on No. 6, and stayed there for much of theround. She dropped a shot on 14, but recovered with a birdie on 17—chipping infrom the fringe—and finished saving par with 5-footer on 18.
“I’ve been hitting the ball really well,” Creamer said. “I haven’t quitegained all my distance back off the tee, but it’s starting to come back with myirons, and it shows.”