Park In-Bee grabs US Women`s Open lead
New York: World number one Park In-Bee, chasing her third major title of the year, fired a four-under par 72 to take the US Women`s Open lead just as fog halted the second round.
The South Korean superstar had a nine-under par total of 135 and a two-stroke lead over compatriot I.K. Kim.
Kim was in the clubhouse on seven-under 137 after a three-under 69 that included five birdies and two bogeys.
American Lizette Salas carded a 72 at Sebonack Golf Club for a four-under total of 140. England`s Jodi Ewart Shadoff was four-under for the tournament through 15 holes when play was halted for the day, with the second round to resume Saturday morning.
"I think we got very lucky that we finished today," said Park, who capped her round with the last of her six birdies at the par-five 18th.
"I played very good golf today. I gave myself a lot of good opportunities, a very good ball-striking day. The long putts seemed to be going well today. I left a couple out there, but very satisfied with today`s score."
Park, whose five titles in 2013 include major triumphs at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship, opened her round with a birdie at the first. She had two bogeys and two more birdies in her outward run, then gathered steam on the back nine.
At the 13th, she hit a wedge over the green but made a 20-footer for birdie. At 15 she landed a sand wedge within a foot before draining a 12-footer at the last.
"I`d say it was a little tougher to play in the fog, but I made a birdie so I don`t think it really came into effect for me," she said. "I was able to see the pin on the third shot, so I think that was good enough."
Overnight rain softened the course, but players found it windier on Friday, with the conditions changing frequently from sunny to overcast to foggy and back.
That made a good round all the more satisfying, Park said.
"It really made me think today that with the wind and fog, it just really made me think. I think that is what the US Open is all about."
Kim had five birdies and two bogeys in her three-under 69. She missed a 12-foot birdie putt at her final hole of the day, the ninth, but was pleased to emerge with the clubhouse lead on seven-under 137.
"Anything under par I thought was going to be a great score," Kim said. "Definitely more wind out there. The wind was a little different direction and it was changing a little bit. Definitely tricky to adjust to the wind on some holes.
"But the greens were a little softer with the rain, so I was able to give myself some chances."
Salas had two birdies and two bogeys in her even par effort.
"I`m not as pleased with it just because I was striking the ball very well," Salas said. "At the same time, you have to look at the bright side, and you have to take into effect the wind and the weather, how it`s a completely different golf course.
"I was still hitting my targets and even though the putts didn`t fall, I still was confident over every shot.
"You just can`t be too greedy out here," Salas said. "Just hitting fairways, hitting greens, that was my goal. "Eventually the putts will drop."
Park is trying to become the first woman to win the first three major championships in a year in which more than three tournaments were designated as majors.
Babe Zaharias won all three majors in 1950, comprising the Titleholders Championship, Women`s Western Open and the US Women`s Open.
"It`s tough not to think about it, but I just try to think that`s not a big deal," Park said. "If I want to do it so much, it`s just so tough and it puts too much pressure on you."
In 1961 Mickey Wright won the LPGA Championship US Women`s Open and Titleholders but was third in the Western Open designated a major that year.
In 1986, Pat Bradley won the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship and du Maurier Classic but missed out at the US Women`s Open.
This year, the LPGA has designated five tournaments as majors: the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship, US Women`s Open, Women`s British Open and the Evian Championship in France.