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Feng overcomes wind to lead ShopRite

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GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Shanshan Feng came sprinting out of the starting gate. Now it's up to the rest of the field to chase her down.

On a day when the wind made conditions brutally difficult, Feng took control of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

She fired a 4-under par 67 on Saturday at the Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club just outside Atlantic City to stand at 6-under par 136 for 36 holes.

The 23-year-old Feng is looking for her second LPGA win; she'll defend her title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in Rochester next week.

Feng will be three shots clear of the field when the final round gets underway Sunday morning. Haeji Kang and first-round co-leader Moriya Jutanugarn are at 3-under par 139. Kang, who like Feng had an early tee time Saturday, carded a 69 while Jutanugarn shot 73.

Chie Arimura and Anna Nordqvist are both at 140 while Karrie Webb, Michelle Wie, Karine Icher, Hee Young Park and first-round co-leader Amanda Blumenherst all stand at 141.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis, who was one shot off the lead when the second round started, wound up shooting 80 and fell into a tie for 49th place at 5-over par 147. She made the cut with just a shot to spare.

Feng started out with a red-hot putter. After starting the round with four straight pars, she reeled off four consecutive birdies.

"I started the round with confidence," she said, "because even though I didn't have a good start yesterday I did have a really good finish. So I think after a few pars, and then I made like four birdies in a row. But then after four birdies, I was like, 'Oh, maybe I'm doing well right now.' But I think a four-under round is still a pretty good score."

Playing the back nine first, Feng did indeed bogey the 18th but still made the turn at five under par. She picked up an additional shot on par on the front side.

Feng put a new set of clubs in play this week, which she said boosted her confidence.

"This is the first week with the new clubs, and right now I'm feeling really, really good," she said. "Nothing's really different, but I think just more effort, so I like them."

While Feng was enjoying the sanctity of the clubhouse, her closest pursuers were battling the conditions.

Jutanugarn moved into a tie for the lead when she birdied the 12th hole (her third). But bogeys at the 14th, 18th and second cost her three shots and she played the rest of her round in even par.

"We had an afternoon tee time" she said, "and the wind picked up stronger. I tried to play one shot at a time, and keep calm and try to play, whatever."

At times during the afternoon the winds blew at more than 25 mph, playing havoc with the players' distance control. The winds also hardened the putting surfaces.

Paula Creamer made the cut right on the number at 148.

"Nobody has ever seen this place like this before," she said. "It's not only that it's just windy -- we've played in that before. The conditions aren't quite the best.

"The greens need some water, that's for sure. It's just getting so firm out there. But it is what it is and you just have to go about it and commit to your shot and whatever happens happens after the ball leaves the club face."

Wie, who also played the backside first, moved to within two shots of the lead when she birdied her opening hole. But a bogey at 15 and a double-bogey at 18 dropped her to one under par.

She rallied on the front side, rolling in four straight birdies to get to within two shots of the lead standing on the eighth tee. But two errant tee shots cost her three shots on the way in as she finished double bogey, bogey.

"It was a little more difficult than yesterday," she said. "This golf course, it can get you on a hole. I had two double bogeys today. It's very frustrating, but at the same time this course can do this to you."

Wie is trying to win her third LPGA title and her first since 2010.

NOTES: The cut came at 6-over-par 148. Angela Stanford, a past winner here, along with Natalie Gulbis and Lexi Thompson, are among the players who failed to qualify. ... Just 18 players in the 141-woman field broke par. ... Wie first played in this event 10 years ago at age 13. She tied for 52nd.
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