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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament Second-Round Recap

Yui Kawamoto of Japan turned in a second-round 6-under 66 to take the clubhouse lead at 8-under at the Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament. She will hold a one-shot lead, over compatriot Hana Wakimoto, in Sunday’s final-round.

Wakimoto is now at 69-68, 7-under 137. She will be looking to take her second TLPGA Tour victory after winning the SAMPO Ladies Open in May.

The Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament belongs to the Japan LPGA’s Step-Up Tour, and is co-sanctioned by the TLPGA Tour, featuring a prize purse of JPY20,000,000.

Amateur Hou Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔), one of the 18 Taiwanese players in the field, carded 69 at Saturday’s Mannou Hills Country Club to move up into a six-way tie for third at 4-under-par 140. TLPGA Tour money leader Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) (75, T32), Chen Hsuan (陳萱) (73, T43), Hanna Chen (陳子涵) (73, T43), and Lee Hsin (李欣) (77, T43) also prevailed through to Sunday.

The cut was made at 3-over-par 147 with 54 players advancing to the final round.

Overnight leader Minami Hiruta registered a 74, sliding down into a tie for 15th.

Hou, this year’s TLPGA Ladies Open – Nan Pao champion, capitalized on the opportunities on the par-5s to score three of her five birdies today on Hole 2, 6, and 15, with putting success within 15 feet. The other two gains were on par-3 8th and par-4 16th. “I was putting well. 27 putts, which was one putt better than yesterday,” said Hou. “Overall, it was a very steady round. I had 12 greens in regulation, missing just 3 fairways. The short game was setting things up well. I’ll be trying to keep up the consistency in the final round.

This has been her first tournament in Japan for the 17-year-old, “I feel very comfortable playing here. The Japanese players are so courteous. And the crowd……they are amazing. They really enjoy the game and it makes me feel really special.”

Lee was the top Taiwanese performer on Day 1 and was on her way to maintain that status capturing three birdies on the front nine, and dropping just one shot. But on the inward nine, her driving game started to crack as a strange sound in her 1-wood shook her confidence severely, and ultimately led to two bogeys and a shocking 5-over alone on the par-5 18th hole.

“I’ve never hit a 10,” Lee said, whose final hole started with two OBs in a row, before she resorted to her 3-wood to place her ball onto the fairway. She lofted the ball to 130 yards on her sixth shot, but needed another two tries to bring it onto the green from a sand hazard. Two attempts with the putter left her a 10 on the scorecard.

“Actually, that strange sound existed in my driver head yesterday. It got even worse today that the whole club was making a strange noise whenever I swung. It was very distracting. I tried not to be affected, but unfortunately, it ended like that on the 18th,” Lee recalled. She went to the pro-shop after the round immediately to get herself a new 1-wood.

The only multi-titlist in the 2018 TLPGA Tour season, Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) couldn’t quite string her good shots, making three birdies, four bogeys, and one double-bogey to card a 74 to sit in equal 32nd at a two round total of 146.

Taiwanese members on the Step-Up Tour, Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲), Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵), and Chen I-Wen (陳依妏) all missed the cut.

Winner on Sunday will automatically be a sponsor exempt into the 2019 Fujisankei Ladies Classic (JLPGA Tour) and the Hitachi Ladies Classic (TLPGA Tour), and will be sent directly into the third-stage of the 2019 JLPGA Tour qualifying event, which will be held at the end of the 2018 season. A year’s worth of Nishino Kinryo Japanese Sake will also be awarded for Sunday’s champion.

Special prizes up for grabs include a JPY500,000 cheque, provided by Imabari Shipbuilding, for players to ace the 17th hole in the last round, as well as a JPY300,000 cheque, provided by Nishino Kinryo, for players to eagle the 18th hole.

The final round will begin tomorrow at 8:10 a.m. from both first and tenth tees with the leaders group to be sent off to go at 10.


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