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2020 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Hitachi Ladies Classic 17– 19 Jan Second-Round Recap
Date:2020-01-18

Japan’s Mamiko Higa and Taiwan’s Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) took over the lead on Day 2 at the Hitachi Ladies Classic. Higa shot a low-round 7-under 65, thanks to an impressive hunting of eight birdies, while Chen made a bogey-free 6-under 66. The duo holds a two-shot advantage at 7-under 137.

Local amateur Hou Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔) sits in solo third at 5-under 139. Hanna Chen (陳子涵) and Babe Liu (劉嬿) both are in the top-5 currently with another shot off the pace.

The Orient Golf & Country Club remained low in temperature on Saturday but the distracting wind and rain seen on Day 1 calmed down a bit. Miga seized the scoring opportunities on eight occasions, including a run of four birdies between the 10th to 13th, and only allowed one bogey to happen on the second hole to produce the best round of the day. “The pin positions were not very easy to attack actually. But I think I was pretty sharp in the conditions, reading the wind well,” said the Okinawa-native. “The grass type is similar to that in my hometown, so I’m feeling comfortable.”

Chen Yu-Ju, who played in the leading group on the final day in the 2017 and 2019 events, would come once again in that position and hoped for a third-time lucky. “I wasn’t driving too well, but I played some great second shots. The putter was helping a lot, too,” Chen said, who is now shifting her focus to the Korea LPGA Tour, having already bagged one title in the developmental circuit.

The younger of the Hou sisters, Yu-Chiang improved by four shots in the second round and moved to solo third place. The freshman at the University of Arizona said the courses feel shorter in Taiwan compared to the ones in the U.S., which she’s now training on. And she gave credits to that for making her feel more comfortable this week, “I was placing the ball where I wanted on the greens, which provided me with some good chances to score.”

Hanna Chen also made a move on Saturday, turning in a bogey-free 5-under 67, which put her just three shots off the lead. “I made a few valuable saves from the bunkers or the roughs, which made a big difference. I’m happy with how I was so calm throughout,” said Chen.

Training at the Orient when she just started playing, Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉) has not taken as much advantage of her knowledge about the course, though. She carded 72 and 70 in the first rounds to sit in a tie for ninth. “I had my chances but I couldn’t really capitalize on them,” said Cheng, who has seen herself able to be back competing in some LPGA Tour events this season after some pre-season qualification efforts.

Home favorite Teresa Lu (盧曉晴) failed to impress again as she posted her second 1-over 73 in a row today. The Japan LPGA major champion is now in equal-31th at 146. In fact, Lu managed to get herself under-par at 1-under through 17, but a tree-blocked, three-putt triple-bogey on the 18th pushed her back down to 2-over.

The NT$10 million event gathers 108 players from 10 countries who will be competing through three rounds for a NT$2.5 million winning prize. A cut was made today when the second round ended. 66 players who was at 6-over 150 or better advanced to Sunday’s final round.

The Hitachi Ladies Classic, the season-opening event of the 2020 TLPGA Tour, boasts a total purse of NT$10 million, which saw a huge increase from the NT$4.1 million on offer when the tournament was first held in 2009.

The Orient Golf & Country Club, backdrop this week, underwent a transformation around the turn on the 9th hole to offer a better scenic view. The practice range was also expanded to help players shake off their rust.

This tournament is presented by Hitachi Ltd. and Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning Taiwan Co., Ltd.. Annual proceeds from the Hitachi Ladies Classic as well as an equal bonus from the title sponsor, will be used to endow local charities. Over the last eleven years, the donation amount has exceeded NT$60 million.

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