- Sports & Recreation
- Jee Young Lee
- Ai Miyazato
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By Kelsey Perry, The Sports Xchange March 15, 2013 9:30 PM
PHOENIX -- Jee Young Lee collected her eighth and final birdie of the day on 18 Friday, climbing to 15 under and into the lead through the second round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at the Wildfire Golf Club. Lee was tied for the top spot heading into the final hole and now holds a one-stroke lead over Ai Miyazato. The 27-year-old from South Korea birdied holes seven through nine on the front-nine and finished the round with an 8-under 64. Plenty of clean shots to the fairway and some good putts were the difference on Day 2, Lee said. Friday was a one-shot improvement for Lee over her first round where she had nine birdies and two bogeys. She finished two shots behind Miyazato on Thursday and in great position although Lee said she prefers not to concentrate too much on the standings. "When I watch the leaderboard, I get a little bit more nervous," she said. "I just try to stay calm." Lee won the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in 2005 as a non-LPGA member but hasn't won a tournament since. She is ranked 254th in the Rolex Rankings and has struggled in recent seasons. Wrist surgery in 2010 affected both her swing and her confidence, she said. "I waited so long, like seven eight years? Yeah," she said. "I really want to win this week." Miyazato had eight birdies and three bogeys Friday and turned in a 5-under 68 with a two-day total of 14 under. "I'm very happy with my round today," she said. "It was almost the same as yesterday. I kept hitting the fairways and I kept hitting to the green." The part-time Phoenix resident from Japan jumped out to an early lead Thursday and recorded a course-record of 9-under 63. Reigning Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis jumped up eight spots Friday, finishing the day in third place at 7-under 65. She didn't have a strong start on the back nine Friday, but an eagle on the 16th helped her find her rhythm heading into the home stretch. "I just really didn't have any birdie putts the first few holes and then just hit a shot on 16 that was perfect," Lewis said. "Then from there I made about an eight-footer for par on 1 and I think that really kept the momentum going." Lewis went on to birdie five of the last nine holes and finished the day with six birdies, one eagle and a bogey. Danielle Kang, Amy Lang, Gerina Piller, Candie Kung and Lindsey Wright are tied for fourth place at 9 under followed closely by Cristie Kerr, Daniela Iaccobelli, Sandra Gal, I.K. Kim and Anna Nordqvist tied for 9th place at 8 under. Yani Tseng, the No. 1 player the Rolex Rankings, is tied for 62nd. She shot even par today and sits 2 under through two rounds. Karrie Webb, who won the event in its inaugural year in 2011, is 5 under and tied for 35th. The tournament runs through the weekend with the top 70 golfers moving on. NOTES: Wright, a 33-year-old from Australia in her ninth season with the LPGA, said she was pleased to be in the mix Friday, especially since it's her first tournament back from injury. A broken foot kept her out of much of last year's season and the beginning of 2013 too. "I didn't play from October to March actually. I couldn't," she said. "I started practicing a week and half before this tournament." ... Lewis and Tseng were seen chatting on the course Friday, but their small talk wasn't about golf and it especially wasn't about rankings, Lewis said. Tseng has been at the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings of 109 weeks, but Lewis, currently in the No. 3 spot, is hot off a win in HSBC Women's Champions earlier this month and in excellent position for a high finish again this weekend. "We've not talked about the No. 1 at all, not at all."... Lexi Thompson dropped from 7th place to 38th after shooting 2 over Friday. Her two-day total is 3 under. She had two eagles, three bogeys and a double bogey Friday. ... Michelle Wie, 23, who made history as the youngest player ever to qualify for the tour at the age of 10, shot even par Friday and sits 2 over through two rounds, tied for the 105th spot.