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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Hitachi Ladies Classic Second-Round Recap

17-year-old Taiwanese amateur Chang Ya-Chun (張雅淳) withstood gusty conditions at the Orient Golf & Country Club, carding a 1-under 71 to extend her lead into the final round of the Hitachi Ladies Classic. Sitting at 7-under 137, Chang will play in the final group tomorrow morning at 10:39 with former world no.1 Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) and Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan.

Tseng, who started Saturday’s second round just one shot off the lead, put up a 1-over-par 73 and slipped down to solo third place. With a second-round 2-under 70, Sangchan overtook Tseng as the current runner-up after 36 holes at 139.

2017 China LPGA Tour Money Winner Saranporn Langkulgasettrin also used a 70 made of four birdies and two bogeys to climb up onto solo fourth on the leaderboard. Just another shot apart is the recent CTBC Ladies Open champion Hsu Wei-Ling (徐薇凌), who strung a second consecutive 71 and placed her within striking distance at 142.

Birthday girl Babe Liu (劉依貞) registered a low-round 69 to sit in a tie for sixth with Chien Pei-Yun (錢珮芸) (71) and Huang Yu-Ning (黃郁寧) (73). Liu cast some birthday magic from the get go on the par-5, 483-yard Hole 1, sinking a 12-footer to secure an eagle. Amateur Chen Cih-Hui (陳慈惠) also scored an eagle by her third career ace – first in a pro event -- on the 141-yard 13th using her 8-iron. However, in the end, Chen was sent packing with a second straight 76.

The cut line was set at 6-over 150 and sent a total of 59 players into Sunday’s final round, which is scheduled to start at 9:00 on Sunday morning.

“There was quite a crowd there following us,” said Chang. “Playing with Yani, and in the last group, I felt I had to constantly remind myself to breathe. I let things go a little faster than it should coming toward to end and made some sloppy putts. But overall, I tried to stay calm and my iron play remained strong, which is a good thing!” Chang needed 33 putts, four more than in the first round. Her three birdies were converted through downhill middle-rangers except for one literally tap-in on the 9th green.

“I have a nice cushion, so I hope I’ll be able to execute high-percentage golf tomorrow, playing to the center, finding the greens, and getting the putts in,” said Chang. “That would be my strategy. Slow and steady.”

Tseng needed 33 putts on Saturday as well, which she attributed to uncomfortable distance on the greens left by poorly-judged iron game due to the heavy wind. “The wind was blowing very hard. Many shots didn’t go as I wished,” Tseng said. “Sometimes you could only trust and act on your own instinct. I hope it is more trust-worthy tomorrow.”

“I got only one birdie on the par-5 holes today. The goal would be three out of four on Sunday,” said Tseng. “That’s not saying I’ll have to fire things up and attack but rather stay solid and precise, one shot at a time, to take those opportunities the par-5s present themselves.”

Following an up-and-down front-nine 37, Sangchan made a late charge with a bogey-free back-nine 33 to give herself a fair winning chance with just two strokes off. She made thirteen fairways out of fourteen in play and needed 31 putts.

A birdie on the 1st hole from 20 feet sparked good momentum for Langkulgasettrin as she displayed an accurate game on Saturday which earned her three honors on the 2017 China LPGA Tour (Money Winner, Newcomer of the Year, and Most Birdies), recording four birdies to surge to sole fourth place.

Playing her first tournament as a pro, promising Taiwanese youngster Chang Ching-Ling (張靖翎) didn’t perform to the standard with a 5-over 77 following up her first-round 69. She dropped into a tie for fourteenth with a two-round total of 146.

Because of continuous rain fallen on the Orient Golf & Country Club, the tournament continued to have the “preferred lies” rules in play.

This event is sponsored by Hitachi, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning Taiwan, and Taiwan Hitachi Asia Pacific. It is the first event on the 2018 TLPGA Tour. It is also the solely featured major tournament in January which boasts a lucrative NT$2.5 million first-place prize. The purse of the tournament has been increased to NT$10 million since 2013 from NT$4 million in its inception year.

For the convenience of the spectators, the tournament offers shuttle bus services to the Orient Golf and Country Club from three meeting points, A7 National Taiwan Sport University station of Taoyuan Airport MRT, O21 Huilong station of the Taipei MRT, and the parking space next to the swimming stadium of National Taiwan Sport University. Book your tickets and enjoy the golf at http://www.taiwan-hitachi.com.tw/ladiesclassic2018/page/ticket/ticket.html .


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