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2021 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Hitachi Ladies Classic 8– 10 Jan Second-Round Recap

Chien Pei-Yun (錢珮芸) shot a brilliant second-round 7-under 65 to cement her lead heading into the final-round of the Hitachi Ladies Classic. The NT$1 million event is the first tournament on the 2021 TLPGA Tour.

Chien, winner of the 2020 season-ending Taiwan Mobile Ladies Open, now sits four shots clear off Babe Liu (劉嬿) at 133, who fired a bogey-free 66 on Saturday to rise to solo second at 137.

Japan LPGA Tour member Tsai Pei-Ying (蔡佩穎) and amateur Hou Yu-Sang (侯羽桑) kept themselves in contention with a 36-hole total of 5-under 139. The chance is slim for the rest of the field who are at least 9 strokes off the pace with just one more round to go.

With the weather turning dry, the greens played faster at 10.4, from about 9.3 yesterday, which favored players who had more experience on the higher-level tours where the green speed goes higher. Despite still being frigid, the clear day made three more players than the first-round break par.

“I like faster greens. I used to play them a lot when I played in the U.S.,” Chien said. “I started out a little tight. But my putting was working well enough to get me out of those early troubles.” After starting with four straight pars, some from dangerous positions, Chien finally scored her first birdie of the day on the 5th and then she was dialed in. A stretch of some of her best golf in her career—eight birdies from 5th to 14th—let Chien enjoyed a tournament low-round.

“I knew my iron game was far from its best when I was warming up and hitting before the round began, and then it was pretty shaky for me on the first few holes. I was surprised to turn that feeling around so quickly and have such a good round,” Chien said. “I’m keeping up this attacking play for tomorrow because there are some big-hitting girls chasing very closely. They definitely have the ability to make things complicated with some early birdies.”

Babe Liu also displayed some fine putting skills during the second-round. She gave credits to the useful advice from TPGA Tour’s Chan Shih-Chang. “He noticed that I tend to hit short on the green. ‘Just go harder!’ He told me that I was too conservative. So I tried to change my grip, my techniques, and more importantly the mindset, and it seemed to be working better for me and the putts are coming in,” Liu said.

Tsai Pei-Ying was another player to benefit from a nice putting day at the office. “I didn’t expect to play this well. My caddie helped a lot as well,” Tsai said. “Pei-Yun is really powerful. I’ll try to match her distance to maybe pose some more pressure on her.” Tsai will be in the same final group with Chien and Liu on Sunday morning.

Failing to make the cut in the previous year, Hou Yu-Sang hoped her record at the Orient Golf & Country Club would improve this time finally. “I’ve never really done well at the Orient. It feels a lot better this week and hopefully, I can go even lower tomorrow,” said Hou.

Kuo Ai-Chen (郭艾榛), with the help of a new coach and currently the second-best Taiwanese player Chang Wei-Lun by her side as her caddie, felt her improvement especially on the mental part. “My coach and I have been practicing more of a psychological training rather than technical, to help me really feel my muscles and movements better,” Kuo said. “Wei-Lun also gave me a lot of support these few days. We had great conversations. We tried to figure things with creativity. It’s a whole new experience. I’ve never really played golf such freely.” She sit at 2-under 142.

Another shot adrift was Huang Ching (黃靖), who used a strong front-nine, picking up one eagle and three birdies, to rise into a tie for eighth.

A cut was made to send 80 from 96 players into Sunday. Wu Chia-Yen (吳佳晏), 2020 TLPGA Tour Rookie of the Year, was forced to withdraw from the event after just two holes in due to a left wrist injury.

Annual proceeds from the Hitachi Ladies Classic and an equal bonus from Hitachi will be used to endow 10 local charities. Estimated donation with all 13 events combined is going to reach NT$70 million.


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