OCALA – With a birdie at the last, Ha Na Jang returned right back to where she started the day. At the top of the leaderboard.
Jang led by one-stroke when she started her second round at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers and made birdie at the par 3, 4th to take a two-stroke lead ahead of Lydia Ko and Haru Nomura at 6-under par. But Jang found herself between a wall and a road at the par 4, 13th hole. Designed in tribute to the Road Hole at St. Andrews, the hole features both a wall and a road, which is where Jang's wayward approach settled along the right side of the green. LPGA Rules Official Marty Robinson was brought in for the ruling but was unable to provide Jang relief. Robinson tells LPGA.com that the road is "an integral part of the course" in being a replica of the 17th hole at St. Andrews and that is how the hole is played.
Jang played her third shot with a 56 degree wedge from off the road, her ball running through and over the green. From there she hit a poor chip that left her with two putts for double bogey and fell back to 6-under par. Overthinking was what cost Jang the lead.
“Really five minutes I think about shot. I think too much thinking is a really big miss, like No.13, the second shot. So little push my five iron and then over the green and on the cart path,” Jang told the media after her round.
A competitive player, Jang was clearly shaken by the experience, lounging back in a chair with her head flung back staring at the sky behind the 14th green.
“I was really angry after No. 13 but my caddie say no angry, too many holes right now. Two more days so you keep going simple, simple. Don’t think about it No.13. So ok I can try two more birdie, so it’s no problem.”
Jang re-took the outright lead at the par 5, 18th, fist pumping her way to birdie by draining a 10-footer to return to 7-under par.
Lydia Ko returned 7:30 a.m. Friday morning to complete her second round after play was suspended Thursday afternoon due to lightning in the area. Ko returned hoping to hit just one putt, which quickly turned into three when Ko three-putted from 15 feet at the par 4, 9th hole. Ko dropped out of a share of the lead and into a tie for second at 6-under par with Haru Nomura.
"Yeah, for three putts," Ko said about her return to the course. "But no, what can you do? I just hit all of my, apart from the third one, a little too hard. So I'm going to go get maybe two more hours of sleep and get out here later this afternoon."
A group sits in a tie for fourth at 5-under par including Jessica Korda, Xi Yu Lin, Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim.
The projected cut is currently at 3-over par. The third round gets underway at 2:15 p.m.