NZ in battle for runner up

New Zealand is in a dogfight for the runner-up spot in tomorrow’s final round of the Queen Sirikit Cup, the Asia Pacific women’s amateur golf championship, in Singapore.

While defending champions Korea, who are looking for the sixth win in a row, raced away from the field in the second round today, New Zealand will start the final round in fourth place on seven-over par 295, only three shots behind second placed Australia.

Kim Hyo-Joo fired a seven-under 65 to push Korea to a superb nine-under par total for the two best counting scores today to move to 11-under par after two rounds.

They are now 15 shots ahead of Australia, who in turn are two shots ahead of Philippines with New Zealand one shot further back.

World No.1 ranked Lydia Ko leads the way for New Zealand, with a one-over par 73 today to be on two-under 142 after 36 holes. She is in a share of second place on the individual rankings with Australian Whitney Hillier.

Tokoroa’s Chantelle Cassidy shot a four-over 76 today while Hamilton’s Emily Perry shot the non-counting 78.

Hyo-Joo, the world No 17, has a runaway lead in the individual race on 10-under par 134 after 36 holes, as Korea streak towards their sixth consecutive Queen Sirikit Cup victory, having won 14 times over the event’s 34-year history.

Korea, led by a red-hot Hyo-Joo, managed the windy but sunny conditions superbly at the Tanah Merah Country Club Garden course.

They are not getting ahead of themselves tomorrow.

“We don’t care so much about the huge lead, as things could change within a round. We will continue to play better tomorrow,” Hyo-Joo said.

She started the day with five consecutive birdies to be on five-under par at the turn before ending her day with nine birdies and a seven-under-par 65, leaving the rest of the field trailing by several shots.

This was her second-best round ever in a tournament, having chalked up 11 birdies during an eight-under-par 64 at an age-group tournament in Jeju.

“I was really happy with my round, but am still not satisfied as I bogeyed the 18th hole again. My putting was more accurate today, and that made the difference.”

Meanwhile, Ko struggled with her putting during her round today.

“I was trying to play my normal game, but I noticed I was short on a number of putts. I realised I was actually playing more conservatively compared with Wednesday,” Ko said.

“On a positive note, I started well, managed to birdie the third hole, but it was all average after that.

“I actually lost some confidence especially when the wind picked up. On Friday, my game plan is to be more aggressive again, give it another go."