By THE NATION
MI JUNG HUR TAKES ONE SHOT LEAD OVER NELLY KORDA IN CHINESE TAIPEI
Hur cooled off a bit with just two birdies after No. 6 but will take a one stroke lead into the weekend at the Miramar Golf Country Club at 12-under par. Defending champion Nelly Korda stayed patient on Friday en route to a bogey-free 67 to sit just one shot back.
“All I was thinking about is trying to get to double digits because I know MJ is playing really well,” Korda said. “I'm just trying to give myself a chance to go into the weekend. My shots around the green were good and it's definitely tough out here today. Still a lot of golf to be played but definitely excited.”
Korda is looking for her second LPGA win of the 2019 season and third of her young career, while veteran Hur is looking to make a third trip to the winner’s circle this year.
In-Kyung Kim’s second-round 65 is her best round since the second round of the ANA Inspiration in March, and she sits T3 along with Minjee Lee just two strokes off Hur’s lead. After a blustery and rainy Thursday, Kim said the sunshine was much welcomed on Friday even with the on-and-off wind gusts.
“Just comfortable day with the weather compared to, you just don't know what to expect,” Kim said. “I didn't hit the ball pretty solid over the last few days. Yeah, par 5s were a little reachable today. Coming in, some of the par 4 with the downwind was quite challenging, but other than that, pleased with how I play….Really one shot at a time because the wind is on and off. You can't really be too tough on yourself. Obviously it's just a little bit of timing, as well.”
Brooke Henderson fired the lowest score of the tournament on Friday, a bogey-free 8-under par 64, to head into the weekend tied for fifth with Su Oh at -9.
HUR’S LUCKY CHARM AT WORK AGAIN
Mi Jung Hur married Kevin Wang (Korean name: Teh Yih) in January of 2018. Since then the 10-year LPGA veteran says she has played more freely and generally has been happier on and off the golf course. That happiness has translated into a successful 2019 season for Hur, with two wins and eight other top-20 finishes.
Hur holds a one-stroke advantage through two rounds at the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, with her husband and parents in the gallery. Kevin rarely gets to attend LPGA events, however, he has been at both of her wins this year and Hur joked that he might have to come every week as her good luck charm.
“Yeah, there's a little bit of pressure with my family,” Hur said. “The whole family are here. But they were there last week, as well, so getting used to it. Just try to do my best…Actually, he [her husband] travelled with me I think six times for this year now. I've got two wins, and everybody is saying he's the lucky charm, so I look forward to this weekend, as well.”
On the course, the weather hasn’t been as extreme as what Hur conquered during her win at the 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, but she said she is enjoying the advantage she has playing in the wind.
“Actually my ball flight is pretty low. I hit shots pretty low,” Hur explained. “I practiced a lot of lower shots, like a punch shot during The Scottish Open, and even this week, as well, because there is so much wind and rain, as well. It helps me a lot, because if you have into the wind with a 7-iron, you have to have a 5-iron in your hands here. A lot of players try to fit the wind; me, as well, but me, I think my ball can help in a hurting wind because it's so low.”
HENDERSON FIRES ROUND OF THE WEEK
Brooke Henderson started her second round off with a birdie, and kept it rolling from there for a bogey-free second-round 64, the lowest round of the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA thus far. The 22-year-old Canadian said the highlight of her round Friday was stuffing a 3-wood from 225-yards to five feet for an eagle on No. 12. Henderson began the second round five strokes off the lead and ended it just three shots back.
“I had a great day going and made a lot of birdies,” Henderson said. “It was a lot of fun. Felt like Britt and I were judging the wind really well and hitting great shots, which is always great. To finish out making a few putts was really nice.”
After a disappointing opening-round 71, Henderson enjoyed the challenge of catching up to the front-runners on Friday.
“I love seeing my name near the top of the leaderboard and trying to chase down the leaders, I was trying to go low today and make something happen. Just trying to chase some birdies.”
The Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA will mark Henderson’s last event until the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, and she said she’s looking for a nice finish this week to cap off her Asia swing.
“It's been really awesome,” Henderson said of the Asia swing. “It's really fun and it's such an amazing experience to come over here to China and Korea and here in Taiwan. Been able to sight see a little bit, too, which is really cool. We're excited to go back to Florida next week, but we've really enjoyed it. It would be really nice to finish off strong this week.”