After 36 holes at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club, Korean compatriots Jin Young Ko and Amy Yang sit tied atop the leaderboard at the 2022 HSBC Women’s World Championship. Both players carded 5-under 67s on Friday; however, they took very different approaches to that number.
Ko made it look relatively easy, opening with a birdie at No. 1 and adding four more birdies in her bogey-free day. It marks her 13th consecutive round in the 60s, dating to the second round of the 2021 BMW Ladies Championship in Korea last October, and her 44th sub-70 round since the beginning of last season. She already owns a portion of the LPGA Tour’s record for most consecutive rounds in the 60s, joining Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu by shooting 14 consecutive sub-70 rounds in mid-2021. Those 14 rounds? The 14 rounds before the 71 that broke her streak in the first round in Korea.
“I just wanted to get some more birdies than yesterday,” said Ko, who steadfastly says that she is not paying attention to the scoring streak. “I really focused on my swing before the second shot or like before the green, into the green. So I made a lot of putts today.”
Yang had a colorful scorecard, making seven birdies and two bogeys on Friday. Yang is aiming for her fifth LPGA Tour title, all of which have come on an Asian Swing. She became a Rolex First-Time winner in her home country at the 2013 LPGA KEB-Hana Bank Championship and is a three-time winner of the Honda LPGA Thailand, most recently in 2019.
“I was hitting the ball very solid today and also putted well,” said Yang, who has two top-10s in her 12 previous HSBC appearances. “I was more aware of how to prepare for each shot than, you know, what outcome would come. And I think I did manage well today.”
Three players are tied for third at -7 – Canada’s Brooke Henderson, American Megan Khang and Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, who all shot 68s on Friday. Thitikul has already won on the New Tanjong Course, capturing the 2018 Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific and earning a berth in the 2018 HSBC Women’s World Championship field. After finishing T8 that week, Thitikul is making a grand return to Sentosa as a 2022 LPGA Tour rookie, firmly in contention for a big victory.
“I think my game is fine,” said Thitikul. “I mean, not like my A game, anyway, but just trying to give myself a lot of chances to make it and then just like commit to it and then have a good roll-in for the putt, it will be good.”
First-round leader Patty Tavatanakit could not keep the momentum rolling, following Thursday’s bogey-free 67 with a 2-over 74 on Friday to sit tied for 21st. Japan’s Momoko Ueda aced the par-3 17th hole, from 166 yards with an 8-iron. It was the third hole-in-one of the 2022 LPGA Tour season. Ueda heads to Saturday in a tie for 26th at -2 after two consecutive rounds of 71.