Kang Looking Out For Ochoa

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Futures TourMORGANTOWN, W. Va - Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, wasted little time positioning herself for her second win in as many events, firing a 3-under-par 69 for a 137 (-7) to take the second-round lead at the $70,000 Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic. Kang leads by one shot over former college rival Lorena Ochoa of Guadalajara, Mexico. Ochoa shot a bogey-free 68 (-4) on the 6,539-yard par 72 The Pines Country Club in Morgantown, W. Va.
 
Entering the second round only one shot off the lead at 68 (-4), Kang immediately took over top spot on the leaderboard. She carded consecutive birdies on one, two, and three, making respective putts of 18, 15, and three feet, and jumped to 7-under-par for the tournament. Another birdie on the par-4 355-yard sixth hole increased her lead to five shots ahead of Ochoa, who was playing two groups ahead.
 
Despite two bogeys on eight and 11, Kang was able to recover with a birdie on 13. She parred her remaining holes and ended at 69 (-3).
 
'I made a 20-foot putt for par on 18 which really saved me,' commented Kang, a former collegiate standout at Arizona State University. 'I really didnt have time to be nervous today because I was busy getting myself into trouble on the course. Tomorrow is a new round and I have to putt well to win. Lorena and I both know each others game. It should be very exciting tomorrow.'
 
Ochoa, a former golf star at the University of Arizona, entered the second day tied for sixth at 70 (-2). She played steady and improved to 6-under-par for the tournament after she registered birdies on four, 11, 15, and 16 to come within one shot of Kang. Ochoa finished with a 68 (-4) for a 36-hole total of 138 (-6).
 
This will be the second time Ochoa and Kang will play together in the final round. Just three weeks ago in Syracuse, N.Y., Ochoa lost by one stroke to Kang at the M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic.
 
'Anything is possible on this course if you putt well,' Ochoa said. 'Jimin and I competed against each other in college and Im very proud of her and what she has accomplished out here in such a short time. I enjoy playing under pressure and I think it will be a close round tomorrow.'
 
Mary Kay Marino of Scottsdale, Ariz., started the day tied for 60th with a 74 (+2), seven shots off the lead. She turned up the heat early on, draining a 27-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 332-yard first hole. Marino recorded four more birdies on two, six, seven, and eight and a lone bogey on three, and made the turn at 2-under-par for the tournament. She picked up three more birdies on the back side to end with a hot 65 (-7) for a 139 (-5) total.
 
'My ball striking was great and I wasnt hitting it into the trees today,' commented Marino, whose score set a new career record. 'I did leave some putts out there, but Im extremely pleased with my round.'
 
Meanwhile, Teresa Ishiguro of Sutter Creek, Calif., who was two shots behind after round one at 69 (-3), fired a 2-under-par 70 and tied Marino at 139 (-5). Ishiguro birdied 11, 16, 17, and bogeyed 18.
 
Ishiguro, whose best finish is a tied for sixth at the Lincoln Futures Golf Classic, stated, 'Nothing was really happening on the front nine for me, but I stayed patient. I was hitting a lot of greens and the ball was bouncing really well for me. Tomorrow, I just need to remain calm and play my own game.'
 
Linda Sorensen of Jonkoping, Sweden, recorded her first Futures Tour ace on the par-3 165-yard 12th hole, hitting her 5-iron into the cup. Sorensen finished the round at 78 (+6) for a 158 (+14). She missed the 36-hole cut.