Ochoa Leads Creamer Lurking


LAS VEGAS -- Lorena Ochoa posted a 4-under 68 on Friday and is on top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the LPGA Takefuji Classic. She stands at 13-under-par 131 and is two ahead of Brittany Lincicome at Las Vegas Country Club.
Lincicome shot a 7-under-par 65 on Friday. Paula Creamer, the No. 3 player in the world rankings, lived up to her billing in round two. She fired an 8-under 64 and is tied for third place with Seon Hwa Lee, who posted her second consecutive, 5-under 67. The duo finished 36 holes at minus-10.
Paula Creamer
Paula Creamer has her sights set on her first victory in 2006.
There was a 38-minute lightning delay on Friday, but the second round was completed. This is a rare, 54-hole event that began on Thursday and ends on Saturday.
Ochoa, who lost to Karrie Webb in a playoff two weeks ago at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, tallied her first birdie at the par-4 fourth. She hit a sand wedge to 15 feet to set up birdie at four, then rolled in a 9-foot birdie putt at the sixth to move to 11-under par.
Ochoa played strong golf around the turn after missing makeable birdie tries at eight and nine. She reached the par-5 10th green with a 6-iron, then two-putted for birdie from 20 feet.
At the par-4 13th, Ochoa hit a long drive in the fairway, then hit a sand wedge to 3 feet. She converted the birdie putt to make it to minus-13, but trouble loomed at the next hole.
Ochoa pushed a 6-iron 45 feet right of the cup at the par-3 14th. She hammered her birdie opportunity 6 feet past the hole, then missed the par putt coming back.
She parred 15, then came the delay.
It did not impact Ochoa that much. She parred the 16th, but took advantage of the par-3 17th. Ochoa hit an 8-iron to 12 feet and converted the birdie putt to take a two-shot lead heading into Saturday's final round.
'I did okay,' admitted Ochoa, referring to her play after the hiatus. 'Par, birdie, par, so I know dinner will taste better because I feel like I finished good.'
Ochoa has developed a problem closing out tournaments. She has only three victories on the LPGA Tour and has taken the lead with one round to go four times. Ochoa has visited the winner's circle on only one of those occasions, but she feels likes she in position to win Saturday.
'I feel comfortable, especially because I'm hitting the ball good,' said Ochoa, who finished second in this event last year. 'I'm just going to try not to think that I have the lead. Hopefully, we will make some birdies and we'll be out there.'
Lincicome, who is looking for her first victory on the LPGA Tour, collected her first birdie at the par-five sixth. She landed in a bunker with her second, but blasted out to five feet and converted the putt.
Lincicome added another birdie at the par-three seventh when her 9-iron landed 15 feet from the hole and she rolled in the putt. At the par-5 ninth, Lincicome, the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour in 2005, needed only an 8-iron to reach the green in two. Her approach stopped 8 feet from the cup and the 20-year-old ran home the eagle putt to make the turn at minus-4.
She did not fly out of the gate on the back nine Friday. Lincicome parred her first six holes on the second side, but holed a 6-footer for birdie at the 16th.
Lincicome moved up the leaderboard with a 30-foot birdie putt at 17, then got to 11-under par at the par-5 closing hole. She hit a lob wedge to 7 feet to set up her third birdie in a row to polish off her round.
'I'm finally playing the way that I wanted to play,' acknowledged Lincicome. 'This golf course, for some reason, sets up real good for me. I haven't really missed a fairway which helps.'
Shi Hyun Ahn shot a 2-under 70 and is alone in fifth place at minus-9.
Jamie Hullett (67), Liselotte Neumann (68), Young Kim (68), Mi Hyun Kim (68) Miriam Nagl (70), Maria Hjorth (70) and Dorothy Delasin (70) are tied for sixth place at 7-under-par 137.
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - LPGA Takefuji Classic
  • Full Coverage - LPGA Takefuji Classic