TOTO Japan Classic: Feng Takes Two-Shot Lead

Shanshan Feng fired a bogey-free 9-under-par 63 on Saturday and takes a two shot lead into the final round of the TOTO Japan Classic.

The defending champion made seven birdies and an eagle en route to a two-round total of 15-under 129.

Afterwards, Feng credited her putting for the sizzling performance at Taiheiyo Club’s Minori Course.

“What was working well was my putting today. The first three holes those birdies weren’t very short, and on the third hole after I hit the ball, when the ball was like halfway I stopped and looked at Mercer [caddie] and I was like ‘oh my god that thing is going in’ and then it went in,” said Feng, who is seeking win No. 2 on the season. “I was shocked, because that wasn’t a very usual start for a round, but then after that I kind of kept my good putting going on and finished with a 9-under.”

Japan’s Ai Suzuki is two back after posting a bogey-free 7-under 65, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 17th to reach 13 under. The hometown favorite, who will be paired with Feng in Sunday’s last group, is targeting a final-round 67.

“Just play like first two rounds. I just want to play like now until the final tournament which is Ricoh. When I saw the score board on No. 6, Shanshan was very strong, but somehow that made me very calm,” said Suzuki. “I just have to play my game. If I can make 5 under tomorrow, I will be happy.”

England’s Charley Hull finished with a bogey-free 8-under 64 to get to 10 under. She is tied for third with South Korea’s Min-Young Lee (68).

“Pretty much all round I played pretty good, but I still left some shots out there, but I’m happy with my round,” said Hull, ranked No. 26 in the world.

A pair of Americans, Stacy Lewis (67) and Lizette Salas (69), along with Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist (68), headline a group of five players deadlocked at 9 under.

“I think I hit 18 greens today so obviously the ball striking is there, I just need to get the putter going,” said Lewis, who is No. 8 in the CME Globe standings. “Who knows, as Shanshan has shown you can make a lot of birdies out there. Who knows what happens tomorrow, the weather’s going to be a little cooler and hopefully it plays a little bit harder and I can play better.”

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, who posted a second consecutive 68, leads a group of five more players at 8 under.

“It’s nice to be able to play some good golf, and hopefully I’ll be able to finish strong with another solid round tomorrow,” said Ko, currently No. 11 in the CME standings.

Lexi Thompson went level par on day two, and dropped to T42 at 4 under. Michelle Wie followed up a first-round 76 with an impressive 7-under 65 to get to 3 under and T48, alongside another American star, Jessica Korda (69).


FENG’S ROUND 2 SCORECARD


TOP 10: ROUND 2

1 Shanshan Feng -15
2 Ai Suzuki -13
3 Charley Hull -10
3 Min-Young Lee -10
5 Momoko Ueda -9
5 Ayaka Watanabe -9
5 Stacy Lewis -9
5 Anna Nordqvist -9
5 Lizette Salas -9
10 Teresa Lu -8
10 Pei-Ying Tsai -8
10 Lydia Ko -8
10 So Yeon Ryu -8
10 Brittany Altomare -8


ROUND 2 HIGHLIGHTS


QUOTABLE

“It’s not my first time leading a tournament, but of course it’s my first time maybe I’m not too far away from a title defense. Of course, before I came I was like if I can do it it would be great, but the most important thing I think is to enjoy the whole process and then playing with Ai (Suzuki) tomorrow will be fun.”
Shanshan Feng (-15), on the chance to defend her title.


LEADERBOARD: TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC

PPLAYERT
1Shanshan Feng-15
2Ai Suzuki-13
3Charley Hull-10
3Min-Young Lee-10
5Momoko Ueda-9
5Ayaka Watanabe-9
5Stacy Lewis-9
5Anna Nordqvist-9
5Lizette Salas-9
10Teresa Lu-8
10Pei-Ying Tsai-8
10Lydia Ko-8
10So Yeon Ryu-8
10Brittany Altomare-8
15Minjee Lee-7
15Mamiko Higa-7
15Saki Takeo-7
15Yukari Nishiyama-7
15Jiyai Shin-7
15Sei Young Kim-7
15Nasa Hataoka-7
15Jane Park-7
23Eri Okayama-6
23Angel Yin-6
23Sun Ju Ahn-6
23Sarah Jane Smith-6
23Serena Aoki-6
23Asuka Kashiwabara-6
23Moriya Jutanugarn-6
23Karine Icher-6
23Mi Hyang Lee-6
23Caroline Masson-6
23Jenny Shin-6
23Chae Young Yoon-6
23Saiki Fujita-6
36Jeong Eun Lee-5
36In Gee Chun-5
36Ritsuko Ryu-5
36Jodi Ewart Shadoff-5
36Asako Fujimoto-5
36Eun-Hee Ji-5
42Jacqui Concolino-4
42Brooke Henderson-4
42Chella Choi-4
42Megan Khang-4
42Lexi Thompson-4
42Shoko Sasaki-4
48Kana Nagai-3
48Soo-Yun Kang-3
48Jessica Korda-3
48Haruka Morita-Wanyaolu-3
48Rie Tsuji-3
48Michelle Wie-3
54Haru Nomura-2
54Hyo Joo Kim-2
54Jennifer Song-2
54Fumika Kawagishi-2
54Pornanong Phatlum-2
54Austin Ernst-2
54Hee-Kyung Bae-2
61Ji-Hee Lee-1
61Erika Kikuchi-1
61Angela Stanford-1
61Ariya Jutanugarn-1
61Misuzu Narita-1
61Kana Mikashima-1
61Suzann Pettersen-1
61Marina Alex-1
69Kotone HoriE
70Yumiko Yoshida2
70Miyu Shinkai2
72Candie Kung3
73Mi Jung Hur4
73Rumi Yoshiba4
75Su-Hyun Oh5
76Lala Anai6

Credit: LPGA Tour Communications, Getty Images


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.



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