Ko surges up leaderboard to 2nd, Ha Na Jang leads at CME

November 20, 2015
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

South Korea’s Ha Na Jang (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Brian Han

The way world No. 1 Lydia Ko played Friday during the second round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla. gave her every right to take the lead except for one thing — or one person rather.

South Korea’s Ha Na Jang wasted no time shooting the lowest round of the week with a 7-under 65 that included four birdies in her first six holes. She holds a two-stroke lead over Ko at 10-under.

The 23-year-old looks like she’s making a mad dash in her last chance to win her first LPGA tournament in her rookie year.

Everything seemed to click for Jang with 12 of 14 fairways hit and 16 of 18 greens in regulation. A single blemish on her scorecard came on the par-3 16th where she couldn’t convert her chip into an up-and-down resulting in a bogey.

Ko on the other hand had already racked up six birdies by the 11th hole, but a missed sand save on the par-4 15th resulted in a double bogey for the Korean New Zealander. She went on to miss the green on the par-3 16th and faltered in the same way as Jang resulting in a bogey.

The 18-year-old pulled it together on her two closing holes with consecutive birdies to finish with a 5-under 67 and an 8-under total.

World No.2 Park Inbee, who came off a win last week and had realistic hopes of knocking Ko out of the one-spot, failed to make any significant moves in the second round with a scorecard dotted with bogeys and birdies. After a 3-under 69, the 27-year old found herself six strokes off the lead.

She admitted that she took the blinders off during the round and checked how her main rival was playing.

“Yeah, definitely watched the leaderboard a couple times when I’m playing,” she told reporters after the round. “It seems like [Lydia Ko] is doing really well out there today. I know she played well yesterday as well. She seems like she really likes this golf course.”

“I’ve got to start liking it a little bit more for tomorrow.”

Park is tied with four other South Korean players at 4-under including Kim Hyo-joo, Jenny Shin, I.K. Kim and Park Hee-young.

Rookie of the Year Kim Sei-young shot a 1-under 71 for a 5-under total and is currently tied for eighth.