Friday, February 24, 2012


Angela Stanford, Katie Futcher and Jenny Shin are in a three-way tie for the second-round lead at the fifth-annual HSBC Women’s Champions at the Tanah Merah Country Club, Singapore.
The trio enter the weekend tied at eight-under-par 136 with a three-shot advantage over Hee Young Park, Na Yeon Choi and 2010 HSBC winner Ai Miyazato.
On a hot and humid day in Singapore, Shin and Futcher each carded five-under-par 67s to join first-round leader Stanford at the top of the leaderboard. Shin, a second-year LPGA player, recorded six birdies and a lone bogey at the 13th to put herself in contention for the third-consecutive week.
Futcher also carded 67 with six birdies and a lone bogey at the 17th – her first of the tournament. The 30-year-old American tied for eighth to open the season in Australia before a tie for 33rd last week in Thailand.
Stanford kept her name atop of the leaderboard in Singapore with a two-under-par 70 that included three birdies and a bogey at the 13th. Stanford is seeking her fifth-career LPGA victory and first in Asia.
The 34-year-old Texan held a two-shot lead entering today’s second round, but knew from the start that she wasn’t likely to repeat Thursday’s 66.
“When I started today, I knew that I didn't quite have that much energy, and so at least I'm starting to recognize it a little earlier in the round,” she said. “I felt more tired this morning and the heat didn't help right off the bat.” Stanford and Futcher are good friends off the golf course. So what are they saying about each other? Says Futcher, “Angela is probably the toughest competitor out here. Her grit and her grind, you're not going to find anybody that's going to grind it out harder than Angela. At the same time, I give her a hard time for not talking a whole lot and not smiling.”
Stanford counters, “It's fun to watch your friend kind of get into their groove out here and start playing well. I think if I could have anything, I would want her demeanour on the course. She's pretty easygoing and not much bothers her."
Futcher put herself in the hunt to become a Rolex First-Time Winner with a 67 today. Making just her second appearance at the HSBC Women’s Champions, she started the day began with an important seven-foot putt to save par at the first hole.
“I'm very, very satisfied,” she said. “Went out, made a great putt on No. 1 today for par, and that kind of really just got me settled and I was able after that to hit it pretty close and make a couple of putts.”
Futcher opened the season with a tie for eighth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and then tied for 33rd last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand. She had the best season of her career in 2011, carding two top-10 finishes – including a career best tie for third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship – and $373,630 in earnings.
Futcher crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Futcher first excelled as a swimmer, but lost her love for the sport and turned to golf. She went on to become an all-American at Penn State University before joining the LPGA Tour in 2006.
"I was a very competitive swimmer,” she said. “But I didn't really like swimming, so I quit.”
Jenny Shin is off to a hot start in 2011. The second-year LPGA player already boasts a seventh place finish at the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and a tie for ninth last week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
“I feel a little bit more confident with my golf game,” Shin said. “I think Australia helped me a lot. I feel like I know what I'm doing out on the course now. I have better management with the golf course.”
Shin was a rookie on the 2011 LPGA Tour after finishing fourth on the Symetra Tour’s season-ending money list in 2010 to earn her card. She recorded two top-10 finishes in her rookie campaign, including a career-best tie for sixth at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Shin isn’t concerned that the attention hasn’t been on her this week.
“To be honest, I've been spoiled by some of the people around me,” she said. “They were telling me how I have the potential to win; I have everything that every other top player has. So I'm not going to worry too much about who is in the field and who is No. 1.”
Shin, 19, cracked the top 100 on the Rolex Rankings following her tie for ninth last week. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng struggled to an even-par 72 on Friday, but said her nagging sore elbow was not to blame. She carded two birdies and two bogeys in the second round and currently sits in a tie for 20th at 1-under-par.
Following the round, she was frustrated with the state of her game.
“It was bad,” she said. “I feel I hit the ball pretty good, but my score was terrible and I just I don't know why. I didn't make putts and I didn't have much birdie chances actually.”
World No 1 Yani Tseng is seven shots off the lead entering the weekend.
Singapore temperatures today reached the low 90s with winds between 10 and 15 mph out of the North-east.
Song-Hee Kim withdrew after playing nine holes in the second round… Defending champion Karrie Webb is currently tied for 27th at even-par following a second-consecutive 72 today.
When Ai Miyazato won the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions, she was in a tie for third at 4-under-par through 36 holes. This year, she is in a tie for fourth at 5-under-par.
Par 144 (2x72)
136 Katie Futcher (US) 69 67, Jenny Shin (South Korea) 69 67, Angela Stanford (US) 66 70.
139 Na Yeon Choi (South Korea) 68 71, Ai Miyazato (Japan) 69 70.
144 Catriona Matthew (Scotland) 74 70, Karen Stupples (England) 72 72, Laura Davies (England) 72 72 (T27).
147 Melissa Reid (England) 75 72 (T45).