(Oct. 26, 2018; Ta Shee) 24-year-old Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan put on a show that brought down the house today, as she shot a bogey-free 67 to take a one-shot lead over first-round leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England after the second round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.
Hsu picked up where she left off at the Ta Shee Golf & Country Club today, shooting five birdies including a spectacular 36-foot putt for birdie from just off the green on the 12th hole.
This marks the first time that Hsu, whose best LPGA tour finish so far has been first runner-up in the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic back in January this year, is sitting atop at the leaderboard of an LPGA event since joining the LPGA in 2014.
"I tried not to pay attention to the leaderboard this time around and focused on my game, one shot at a time," said Hsu, who wears a black ribbon on her cap this week in memory of the victims of the tragic train derailment accident in east Taiwan occurring five days ago.
"We still have 36 holes of golf to play and tomorrow is a brand new day. All I can control is myself," said Hsu, in reply to her prospect of getting into the winner's circle and retaining the championship trophy in Taiwan like Yani Tseng did in the inaugural edition of this tournament in 2011.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Shadoff came across a rough patch after picking up two shots with two birdies in the first three holes, as bogies at the fifth and 8th hole disrupted her momentum. The Englishwoman fired a 1-under 71 to trail Hsu by one shot at 8-under for the tournament.
"It was a lot tougher today. The pins were tougher to get at. A lot of them were kind of really close to edges of greens. The wind was a little bit more tricky," said Shadoff, who confessed that she prefers to be chasing than to be leading. "Whenever I won a tournament or been close to the lead, maybe in college or whatever, I've always preferred to come back at the end."
Former Rolex Rankings no. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand was on fire early on in the round after reeling off six birdies in the first 10 holes. The bogey at the 11th hole was the only blemish on her score card. The 2015 LPGA Taiwan Championship winner went on to shoot another birdie at 17 before carding a 66 to sit in the third place alone, two shots adrift of Hsu.
"Yeah, (it's) definitely nice to come out with a bang, and then just to be able to finish strong. There are some tricky holes here and there, so you really can't let go of your focus," said Ko, the first runner-up last year at this tournament who also finished strong and tied for second last Sunday in the Buick LPGA Shanghai.
Ko also showed off a small tattoo on her right wrist to commemorate her first win. " That was my first win on the LPGA as an LPGA member and that was the Swinging Skirts event (2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic)," added Ko, " I feel like I have a great relationship with the people here at Swinging Skirts, Chairman Wang and everyone has been super supportive. I love coming here. The food is amazing and the fans are great!"
Mirim Lee of Korea shot a five-under 67 to tie for fourth with American Nelly Korda at six-under par for the tournament. Rolex Rankings no. 3 So Yeon Ryu's made a charge up the leaderboard early on, but found water at 16 and dropped three shots with a double bogey and a bogey over an unlucky two-hole stretch. Ryu had to settle for an even-par 72 and is currently tied for 8th with five other players.
Teresa Lu of Taiwan rebounded with a solid 70 today to improve her standing to tie-for-29th with 10 players including Taiwanese amateur Yu-Chiang Hou and compatriot Babe Liu. Meanwhile, Yani Tseng managed an even-par 72 today to tie for 52nd.
Round three will tee off tomorrow from 8:15 AM onward, with the threesome in the final group made up of Wei-Ling Hsu, Lydia Ko and Shadoff scheduled to start at 10:38 AM at the first hole.
Tickets for the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship are available for purchase on the ibon platform: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/pages/tickets. To make things easier for fans, free shuttle buses are scheduled to operate between Ta Shee Golf & Country Club and Taipei MRT Yongning Station on Saturday and Sunday. Organizers have also set aside a variety of amenities including public catering, public lounge and spectators interactive areas throughout the golf course.
Daily live telecast will be provided by FTV, FTV News Channel, Hami Video and Chunghwa Telecom MOD between 12:00 noon and 4 PM . For more information, please visit the official tournament website: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/?locale=tw