Boutier fires 64 to grab midway lead at HSBC Women's

Boutier fires 64 to grab midway lead at HSBC Women's

SINGAPORE — Six-time LPGA Tour winner Celine Boutier had a bogey-free round of 8-under 64 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

The 30-year-old French player had a 36-hole total of 7-under 137 on the Sentosa Golf Club course, a layout a short drive south of the Singapore city center.

Ayaka Furue of Japan was in second after a 67. Madelene Sagstrom was in third after a 67, two strokes behind Boutier.

“I don’t know that I feel really comfortable or at ease. I think with this field and with so many great players, you’re never really too far ahead,” said Boutier.

Furue made two bogeys on the par-4 third and the par-3 fourth but followed that up with a birdie on the first par 5, and later picked up back-to-back birdies on hole Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn with a 35.

Furue’s back nine consisted of a birdie streak of four holes from Nos. 12 to 15 that shot her up the leaderboard.

Sagstrom has no bogeys across the first two days.

“I feel like those two rounds showed to myself that my game is in a good place,” Sagstrom said. “I also figured out what I needed to work on mentally last weekend to give myself chances and not hit the brake button and keep pushing.”

Sagstrom said she tried to “play it smart.”

“I think that’s kind of been the key to not making bogeys. Yesterday, it was not a lot of birdie chances. So we kind of had to play smart and let the putter do the talking," she said.

Sarah Schmelzel, who led by one stroke after the opening round of the 66-player, no-cut tournament, shot 72 Friday and was three behind and in a group of five tied for fourth.

Brooke Henderson shot 66 to move within four shots of the lead. Patty Tavatanakit, who won last week’s LPGA event in Thailand, shot 68 and was also four strokes behind Boutier.

Two-time defending champion Jin Young Ko shot 73 and was at even par, seven shots behind, Minjee Lee, playing for the first time this year on the LPGA Tour, had a 74 and was eight strokes behind.

Lydia Ko, who has 20 career wins, including two majors, shot 70 and was nine behind Boutier.

This is the second of three straight weeks in Asia for the LPGA Tour. Next week the tour moves to China and the Blue Bay event on Hainan Island before heading back across the Pacific and to Palos Verdes, California for its next tournament beginning March 21.