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Masson holds onto North Texas LPGA lead

The SportsXchange

IRVING, Texas -- First-round leader Caroline Masson of Germany shot a par 71 in windy conditions Friday and remained on top in the North Texas LPGA Shootout after 36 holes.

Masson finished two rounds at 7-under-par 135 and led Carlota Ciganda of Spain by one shot at Las Colinas Country Club. Ciganda shot a 1-under 70 in the second round.

"The finish was a bit disappointing," Masson said. "I left a few out there. It's always difficult after a pretty good first round to have a decent second round, but I think I played alright."

Moriya Jutanugarn, an 18-year-old LPGA rookie, pulled within two shots of Masson after firing a 5-under 66. She was tied for third with Inbee Park and Kathleen Ekey. Jutanugarn, a native of Thailand, was 3 under on the back nine in her round, including a birdie at No. 18.

Masson bogeyed three of the final four holes after she was 3 under in her round through 14 holes. Her day turned south on the 15th when her drive skipped to the left of the fairway and into the water. She recovered for a long attempt at par, but her putt fell to the right of the hole to start a string of two consecutive bogeys. She closed with a bogey on 18 after driving into the rough.

"I have to stay patient," Masson said. "I don't know what the winds are going to do on the weekend. It's probably going to play tough on the weekend. I have to stay patient and hole some putts and see what's happening."

Ciganda was 1 over on her first nine holes in the second round after back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth. She came back on No. 10 with a birdie and later birdied 16.

"I would be happier with a few more putts if they would drop in," Ciganda said. "But I'm happy with my round. I think I played similar to yesterday. Just those putts that didn't go in, that's the difference."

Park, who is No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings, posted consecutive birdies on 17 and 18 after beginning play on the back nine. She appeared to overcome a bogey on No. 2 with a 5-foot birdie putt attempt on No. 3, but her right-to-left putt curved just short of the hole.

"Today was a little bit windier than yesterday," Park said. "So it was a little bit more challenging with picking clubs."

Park caught a stroke of luck on her ninth hole, the par-5 18. Her second shot was pushed to the right but bounced off of the rocks next to the water and into the fairway. Her third shot landed within 10 feet of the hole and she sank the birdie putt.

"I thought after I hit the ball, I thought it was definitely in the water because I wanted to hit it to the left on the bunker side," Park said. "But I hit a push and I thought it was definitely in the water, but everybody clapped, so I thought I got really lucky and ended up with a birdie on that hole. So it was very good."

Ekey, the lone American in the top five, capped a strong back nine with three birdies to shoot a 4-under 67. Ekey opened with a bogey on the second hole before back-to-back birdies on three and four. She birdied No. 8 but closed her front nine with a bogey on No. 9.

A pack of golfers were tied for fifth and within three shots of the lead at 4 under. Shanshan Feng made the biggest move in the group, shooting a 4-under 67. She was joined by Brittany Lincicome, Jessica Korda, Yani Tseng and Hee Young Park.

It was a rough second round for amateur Taylor Coleman, a high school sophomore from San Antonio who opened with a 3-under 68 on Thursday. Coleman fell back in the back of the field but still made the cut despite shooting a 6-over 77. She double-bogeyed No. 1 and finished with five bogeys.

NOTES: Jutanugarn's 5-under 66 was the best score in the second round. Feng and Ekey were the only two players to shoot 4 under on Friday. ... The first of two cuts was made after the second round. The top 70 plus ties advanced to the third round. After the third round, the field is again cut to the top 50 plus ties. ... Beatriz Recari birdied the 18th hole to make the cut. Recari leads the LPGA with 42 consecutive cuts made dating to 2011.
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