GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) – Shanshan Feng shot a marvelous 4-under 67 before the wind picked up Saturday and grabbed a three-shot lead after two rounds of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Feng, who last year became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA Tour title and a major event in capturing the LPGA Championship, matched the best score of the day. Using a new set of clubs, she had a 6-under 136 total on the wind-whipped Bay Course at the Stockton Hotel and Golf Club.
First-round co-leader Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Haeji Kang of South Korea shared second at 3 under. Jutanugarn had a 73, and Kang shot 69.
Defending champion and second-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 9-over 80, matching her worst round since the third round of U.S. Women’s Open last year. She fell from third to a tie for 50th.
Michelle Wie, looking for her first LPGA win in the United States, rolled in four straight birdies on her back nine and was 4 under until a double bogey, bogey finish for a 73 that dropped her to 1 under. The 23-year-old was tied for sixth with Karrie Webb, Hee Young Park and Karine Icher and first-round co-leader Amanda Blumenherst, who finished with a double bogey for a 75 after losing a ball on her last hole.
The wind off Reed’s Bay was the story. It was mild in the morning when Feng played and then gusted between 20 and 30 mph in the afternoon, leaving players second-guessing club selection and battling inconsistent greens, some of which dried out and didn’t hold shots and others that were strangely receptive.
The cut of 6 over was the highest on tour this season.
Nineteen players broke par Saturday, with only two doing it in the afternoon when Lewis, Jutanugarn and Blumenherst played.
It allowed a lot of players who played in the afternoon Friday moved up the leaderboard.
Kang jumped from 12th to a tie for second, and Chie Arimura (67) of Japan and Anna Nordqvist (68) made big moves to finish in a tie for fourth at 2 under
The 23-year-old Feng, who had to skip last week’s event in the Bahamas because of a visa issue, had six birdies and two bogeys in an event that has tested her mettle. The No. 8 ranked women played her first three holes in 3 over and the next 33 in 9 under.