Strong finish puts Tseng one ahead in Alabama

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 28, 2015 9:20 PM

(Reuters) - Taiwan's Yani Tseng produced a stunning eagle-birdie finish to seize a one-stroke lead in the weather-disrupted second round of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama, on Friday.

The former world number one covered her final six holes in five under par to shoot a flawless eight-under 64 on the Senator Course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Tseng eagled her 17th hole, the par-five eighth, then had to wait out a 96-minute weather delay due to the threat of lightning in the area before returning to the course to pocket her sixth birdie of the round for a 10-under total of 134.

That left her a stroke in front of American Austin Ernst, who had carded a 65 earlier in the day in pursuit of her second victory on the LPGA Tour.

Ernst's playing partner, American world number eight Lexi Thompson, was a further stroke back at eight under after carding a bogey-free 67 that included four birdies in her first eight holes.

"We both had a string of birdies there on the front nine," Ernst told reporters after she and Thompson had spurred each other on to make a combined 13 birdies and an eagle during the second round.

"She was hitting it well. Definitely when you see putts going in with other people, too, I think it just kind of gives you a little bit more confidence that you can just take it deep."

Thompson is relishing being back on the Senator Course where she claimed her first LPGA win in 2011 before finishing runner-up at the venue the following year.

"It helps knowing the golf course really well," said the 20-year-old, who is already a five-times winner on the circuit. "I always love coming to Alabama and playing this golf course

"It's probably in the best shape I've seen it, especially the greens are rolling really well," said Thompson, who won her first major title at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)