Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn watches her drive during the second round of the Evian Championship in France on Saturday. (AP Photo)
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France: Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn has taken a three-shot lead in the second round of the weather-shortened Evian Championship, the fifth and final major women’s golf tournament of the season.
Moriya went 3 under par on Saturday to improve to 9 under, three strokes clear of first-round leader Park Sung-hyun, one of Saturday’s late starters who had completed 11 holes as of 9.30pm Thailand time, and former world No.1 Lydia Ko.
Among others who had finished their second round, Jennifer Song of the United States shot a 65 for the best round of the day and stood at 5 under alongside Shanshan Feng of China and Angela Stanford of the US. British Women’s Open champion Kim In-kyung was 4 under after seven holes.
“At these major events, the keys are the fairways and greens this week,” said Moriya, who is still looking for her first LPGA victory. “I’m just trying to give myself a chance for birdie. It looked like plenty of good chances out there today.”
Moriya has been playing in the shadow of sister Ariya Jutanugarn for the past two years, but Ariya has struggled with a shoulder injury for most of this season. On Saturday she endured more misery, finishing 9 over par after two rounds and missing her fifth cut of the season. After spending two weeks as the world No.1, she has slipped to fourth and may fall further.
Moriya is currently ranked 32nd in the world. While she has yet to win on the LPGA Tour, she has eight top-10 finishes this season for earnings of $864,000.
Ariya had plenty of company below the cut line on Saturday as the other seven Thai competitors in the Evian event, including veteran Pornanong Phatlum at 5 over, struggled to find their form.
The fifth women’s major of the season will conclude on Sunday after being shortened to 54 holes when weather-affected play on Thursday was wiped from the record.