Tseng has four-shot lead at Royal Birkdale


Ricoh Women

SOUTHPORT, England – Yani Tseng of Taiwan held a comfortable four-shot lead at the midway point of the Women’s British Open after shooting a second straight 4-under 68 Friday at Royal Birkdale.

The two-time major winner mixed five birdies with a bogey for an 8-under total of 136 to lead a trio consisting of American duo Brittany Lincicome and Cristie Kerr and Amy Yang of South Korea.

Rain washed over the course in the afternoon, making things difficult for the late starters – including defending champion Catriona Matthew of Scotland who missed the cut by seven strokes after making a 10 at the par-four 13th.

Matthew finished with a 9-over 81 and a two-round total of 12-over 156.

Matthew’s tee shot at the 13th landed in a bush, and she then got into deep rough just off the green. After three attempts to get out she took a penalty drop, chipped onto the green and two-putted for 10.

She then proceeded to get a birdie 2 at the short 14th – recording a rarely seen 10-2 score sequence.

“After the 10 I just wanted to get in,” said Matthew.

It was a totally different story for Tseng, who played in much better conditions.

“There was no wind this morning and it was very calm, so it was nice out there,” she said. “The course played totally different than what we played the last three days, so it was really nice.

“I feel very confident and if I stay patient over the weekend and just keep playing the way I’m playing I have a good chance.”

Kerr posted the lowest round of the tournament so far with a 67 to move to 4 under overall.

The American sank 10-foot birdie putts on the first two holes, dropped a stroke at the eighth and picked up four more birdies on the back nine.

“I played really well today,” Kerr said. “I was determined to be more relaxed out there. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself since getting the No. 1 ranking and I hadn’t really realized that’s what was going on. So I just went out and did my thing today.”

Lincicome had a birdie at the second, then dropped four strokes in three holes from the 11th, including a double-bogey at 12. But she made up for it over the last four holes with a birdie at 15, an eagle 3 at 17 and a birdie at 18 to finish with 71.

Veteran Julie Inkster carded a 2-under 70 in the afternoon for a 3-under total of 141, leaving her in a three-way tie for fifth.

Inkster bogeyed the third but recovered with a birdie at the fourth, before picking up further birdies at the 15th and 17th.

“It was rainy and tedious but I was very happy with the way I played,” Inkster said. “There’s a lot of good names up there but we’re all going to be playing at the same time tomorrow, so that’s going to help.”

Suzann Pettersen of Norway shot a 68 to join Inkster on 3-under, alongside Sun Young Yoo of South Korea who had a level-par 72.

Joint overnight leader Katherine Hull slipped back to 2 under after recording a 74.