Jones Leading the Way


EVIAN, France -- Rosie Jones carded a 4-under 68 Thursday to grab a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Evian Masters. Rosie Jones completed 36 holes at 9-under-par 135 with overnight co-leader Lorena Ochoa one shot back.
Sophie Gustafson fired a 5-under 67 Thursday to move to 6-under-par 138. She shares third place with Juli Inkster, the other overnight co-leader, who shot an even-par 72 in the second round.
Jones, who birdied the final two holes Wednesday at Royal Evian Golf Club, opened with a birdie at the first from two feet out on Thursday. After a string of four straight pars, Jones stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 sixth.
The 13-time winner on the LPGA Tour capped her front nine in fine fashion. She rolled in a four-foot birdie at the eighth and followed that with 16-footer for birdie on No. 9.
Around the turn, Jones was steady throughout. She parred Nos. 10-16 before a pair of birdies to close the round gave her the lead.
'I felt like I played really steady,' said Jones. 'I know that Lorena and Juli are great competitors that can hit it a lot further than me, so I knew that I was going to have to play really good golf and cut back on any bogeys.'
Ochoa, who owned the lead for a time on Thursday, began her day with six consecutive pars. She then two-putted for birdie on the par-5 seventh to move to 7-under.
She followed that with a long birdie putt at No. 11 but trouble was on the horizon. She bogeyed back-to-back holes from the 13th to drop back to 6-under.
The Mexican however recovered nicely. Like Jones, Ochoa birdied each of the final two holes to climb back to 8-under and solo second place.
'I really hit the ball well and had opportunities for birdies and was very smart and on the good side of the greens,' Ochoa said. 'There was the one mistake with the three-putt (on No. 14) but aside from that, I feel very comfortable with my game.'
Gustafson is looking to win her third straight event in Europe and notched three birdies and a bogey in a four-hole stretch on the front nine. On the back nine, she had three bogeys and one birdie over her first four holes but then closed her round out with three consecutive birdies before an eagle at the last.
'The putt on 14 was the key,' said Gustafson, who won the Biarritz Ladies Classic and the Ladies Irish Open in her last two events in Europe. 'The rest was just some nice power play, I knocked it close and holed the putts and the eagle at the last was a nice way to end the day.'
Hee-Won Han and Cristie Kerr each posted rounds of 4-under 68 Thursday to move to 5-under-par 139. They share fifth place with Janice Moodie and Jeong Jang, who both notched 1-under rounds of 71.
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam continues to struggle from her hectic schedule which saw her pull out of the Canadian Women's Open two weeks ago. She shot 1-over 73 Thursday and is 1-over-par 145 and tied for 34th through two rounds.
Hilary Lunke, the improbable U.S. Women's Open winner, posted her second straight 2-over 74 and stands at 2-over-par 148 in a tie for 55th.
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