SINGAPORE | After 36 holes at Sentosa Golf Club, LPGA Tour winners Hee Young Park and Inbee Park hold a two-stroke lead over the field at the HSBC Women’s World Championship at -11. Inbee, who has hit 27 of 28 fairways through the first two days, struggled from the start, which was highlighted by a bogey on No. 3. When she made her first birdie of the day on No. 7, Park said she felt relived.
“It was a little betrayal of my putter today,” said Park. “Misread a few putts, but I still feel like I fought pretty well, especially the front nine, 1 through 6 was pretty tough with a lot of opportunities given but nothing was going in. I was just trying to get my momentum going, and No. 7 definitely did it and from there, the round was a bit easier. A little rough start.”
From there, Park went on to birdie the next two before making the turn. “I really wanted to make it happen and having birdies on 7, 8 and 9 was a big help,” said Park, who eventually closed with a second-round 69. “Obviously there was a lot of opportunities on the back nine was well but it wasn't my great putting day today. Hopefully better days to come next two days.”
Park said she’ll work on her putting stroke from her hotel room before Saturday, with an effort to avoid the heat. But the focus for her will be to get a better feel for the greens on the New Tanjong Course.
“I'm just trying to get the rhythm going again. It was mostly not the best stroke today, it was mostly the read and the putts were very confusing today,” said Park. “One moment it was looking like it was going to break but it didn't and yeah, it was very tough. I think I was just pacing myself, like those ridges where is it going to break or not and like in between, yeah. It's really tough to judge after just one day but I think I made a lot yesterday and obviously today made up for it a little bit I guess.”
Hee Young made four birdies and a bogey, carding a 68 to share the lead with her fellow countrywoman Inbee. Park said she feels even with her consistent day on Friday, there will be even more chances to go low this weekend. “I believe a lot of birdies out there. So even I missed a couple shots because with the heat and the conditions getting tougher, longer and a little bit of windy afternoon, but I leave a lot of birdies out there. So just keep think about, okay, even I missed a couple shots but it's coming some birdies out there.”
Xiyu Lin and Hyo Joo Kim sit in a tie for third at -9, with Carlota Ciganda and So Yeon Ryu rounding out the top five at -8. Five players sit in a tie for seventh, including major champion Hannah Green, who is making her HSBC Women’s World Championship debut this week.
“It was really nice being first group out. Things were just flowing really well and was putting better strokes on putts and just trying to ride that wave, I guess,” said Green, whose 66 tied the low round of the day in Singapore. “Missed a few greens on the back nine and short-sided myself a couple times, so made a good bogey on the par 5, which is unfortunate. But still very happy with today's round.”
INBEE AND HEE YOUNG: FRIENDS IN THE FINAL PAIRING
Paired together in the final grouping for the second round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship, Hee Young Park and Inbee Park have quite the history together. Only a year apart in age, the two have known each other for quite some time.
“I've known her -- we actually graduate the same middle school back in Korea. So I known her really long time, probably almost 20 years now. Then now we've got both husband and play on the Tour. A little bit of joking about we really, you know, hang out just husband and wife, only each other, feel a little different, but we really enjoyed it,” said Hee Young. “A lot of personal talk a little bit out there. It makes little fun to play golf.”
Both women are LPGA Tour veterans, with Inbee becoming a Member in 2007 and Hee Young in 2008, and both have made their mark as winners on Tour. Hee Young won most recently won at the 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open, the third title of her career, with Inbee earning her 22nd-career victory at the 2021 Kia Classic. Inbee said their experience and friendship was a nice touch to Friday’s round in Singapore, as both look to add to their impressive Tour resumes.
“Hee Young and I are almost the same age and we are a little more oldies on the Tour. We were talking about, the weather is just killing us because we are not as young as like ten years ago. We had great fun out there with Hee Young. She played great,” said Inbee, who will play alongside Hee Young again on Saturday with Xiyu Lin. “She always has a great swing and she's a great ball-striker. I'm looking forward to playing with her tomorrow again and hopefully we play good golf the next two days.”