(Reuters) – Norway’s Suzann Pettersen stormed into contention at the halfway stage of the Blue Bay LPGA with the only sub-70 round on a second day of strong winds and high scores in China.
Pettersen, who was accused of showing a lack of sportsmanship after a putt concession row at the Solheim Cup last month, fired four birdies in a three-under-par 69 round to sit second on one-under, one off the pace.
South Korea’s Kim Sei-young was out in front after a birdie at the last gave her a level par 72 round and two-under 142 total on the lengthy Jian Lake Blue Bay course at Hainan Island, where blustering winds and undulating greens have proved a tough test for the field.
Kim, 22, has proven herself to be a lover of the tough windy conditions, landing two titles this year in the blustering Bahamas and gusty Hawaii.
“I like playing in the wind,” the world number 11 said.
“I like the windy weather because I’m using a lot of skills and low cut shots. Very interesting.”
Pettersen, the world number 10 who is looking for a 16th career win, shared second with Taiwan’s Candie Kung (72) and American duo Ryann O’Toole (73) and Austin Ernst (75).
The quintet were the only players under-par at the halfway stage of the $2 million event, the penultimate leg of the Asia swing.
Overnight leader Lin Xi Yu started her second round brightly with two birdies in the first three holes to reach seven-under but her second round unravelled with seven bogeys as she carded a 77.
That left her at level par alongside five others, including world number three Stacy Lewis (73) of the United States.
World number one Lydia Ko endured another tough day in China firing a three-over 75 to sit at eight-over for the championships.
World number two Park In-bee did not even make it onto the course on Friday, withdrawing from the field with a finger caused injury.
Park’s injury could hinder her chances of lifting the LPGA’s Race to the Globe title with only three tournaments left on the 2015 calendar after this week.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)