ROGERS – As temperatures soared into the 90’s early on day two of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, it was Jing Yan who had the hottest round in the morning wave, posting her second consecutive round of 65 to vault into the lead at 12-under par. The No.115 ranked player in the world took advantage of playing in the semi-cooler temperatures compared to those she faced on Thursday afternoon, carding five birdies and an eagle with one dropped shot on the back nine to take the lead early in round two. Yan posted her best career finish earlier in June at the ShopRite LPGA Classic where she was fifth for the week after missing the cut in six of her previous ten starts.
“I think this week I'm hitting it a lot better and I'm making a lot of putts, so those two things I have been really on and off this year,” Yan told the media. “At ShopRite they were really good and at a lot of other events they really weren't, and it really showed when I didn't play very well through my long game. I struggled to have lots of birdie opportunities and get higher up on the leader board, so this week I felt like a little bit of change in my swing, really comfortable, striking the ball.”
Yan holds a one-stroke lead ahead of Haeji Kang who carded the low round of the morning with an eight-under par, 63 for her low round of 2016. Kang was feeling more comfortable than usual during the round, having parted ways with her former caddie after missing the cut in her last three starts, the South Korean has her father on the bag this week. The work she’s putting in with new instructor Holton Freeman is also beginning to take hold, helping Kang get around in just 25 putts on Friday.
“Actually, I have been struggling with my putting the last couple weeks, and I think I was thinking too much about technique out on the golf course, so like my goal was to be, just to keep it as simple as possible,” Kang said after her round. “I have been working on swing techniques, trying to make the ball roll a little bit more straighter, and it was going good and then I got too technical out on the tournament, which isn't great for, like being simple. Simple is great for out here, so I think ‑‑ so this week I just tried to be as simple as possible and I think that was the key for all past weeks, so I think that's what's been helping.”
Moriya Jutanugarn currently sits in a share of third at 10-under par after posting her second consecutive round of 66.