2/24/2012 12:40:34 AM
All three players sit at eight-under-par 136. Stanford fired a 66 in the
opening round to take sole possession of first, and followed that Friday with
a 70 on the Garden Course at the Tanah Merah Country Club.
The trio is three strokes ahead of Hee Young Park (68), 2010 champion Ai
Miyazato (70) and world No. 2 Na Yeon Choi (71), who are at five-under 139
heading into the weekend. Jiyai Shin (70) headlines a group of six another
shot behind at four-under 140.
Futcher and Shin are both in search of their first LPGA victories, while
Stanford is trying to win for the first time since 2009.
Choi vaulted into first place thanks to an early run, during which she poured
in three consecutive birdies from the second to move to seven-under and past
Stanford. The American Stanford parred her first eight holes to stay at six-
But Choi couldn't sustain that kind of success and, in fact, went backward.
She bogeyed seven and 10, and following a birdie at 13, Choi dropped another
stroke at 15.
While Choi was struggling and Stanford was holding steady, Futcher made a run
for the top of the leaderboard.
She was playing a group in front of Choi and two in front of Stanford, and
played a bogey-free front nine. Birdies at two and four got Futcher to five-
under, and another at the eighth gave her a share of first with Choi and
But Futcher kept on going -- birdies at nine and 10 put her at eight-under and
gave her a two-shot edge. However, Stanford managed to keep the pace. She also
birdied the ninth and 10th to reach eight-under.
"To be perfectly honest, I was encouraged that midway through the front nine,
nobody was making a huge charge," Stanford said. "So that helped me stay
patient throughout the day."
Stanford briefly fell behind again with a bogey at the 13th, but made up for
it with a birdie at 15. Meanwhile, Futcher birdied the 16th to move ahead, but
her stay at nine-under was short. She bogeyed the 17th and parred the last to
conclude her 67.
"I don't know about the other players' games, but I know that my short game is
very sharp and my putting is very good, so I have extreme confidence in that
right now," Futcher said. "Just looking forward to the weekend. Angela is one
of my best friends out here, so it will be nice to play with her."
Jenny Shin birdied her way into the picture late in her round. She had posted
a three-under 69 on Thursday and birdied her second, ninth and 11th holes
Friday. After a bogey at 13, she ran off three birdies in a row to get to
Her presence at the top of the leaderboard isn't much of a surprise, given how
well Shin has played this season. She placed seventh at the Women's Australian
Open and finished in a tie for ninth in Thailand last weekend.
NOTES: Futcher tied for eighth at the Women's Australian Open, then ended in a
tie for 33rd in Thailand. While she has never won an LPGA event, Futcher tied
for third at last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship...Defending champion
Karrie Webb carded a second consecutive 72. She is in a tie for 27th at even-
par 144...World No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a 72 on Friday, and is tied for 20th at
one-under 143...Song-Hee Kim withdrew.