Korea’s Inbee Park took a one-shot lead over American Stacy Lewis after Round 2 of the Olympic Women’s Golf Competition in Rio de Janeiro.
Park fired her second successive 66 for a 10-under-par 132 total, while Lewis stormed up the leaderboard with a course record 63 at the Reserva de Marapendi Olympic Course.
A seven-time major winner, Park admitted that she arrived in Rio more in hope than expectation after a lengthy lay-off due to a thumb injury. However, the Korean has plotted a steady course for two days and said: “I was able to convert the birdies today. I missed a couple of tee shots, so I was in the sand area, but I was able to convert them into birdies. That’s really the key for today’s round.”
Meanwhile, Lewis put herself in strong contention for Olympic glory with a stunning second round, coming at the end of a whirlwind two weeks in which she got married and became an Olympic athlete. The 31-year-old nailed 11 birdies and even a bogey and a double-bogey at the 14th failed to halt her progress up a cosmopolitan leaderboard.
“I guess I have a course record here, and it’s great to put my name on that, and being near the top of the leaderboard at the Olympics. It’s something that, I think, every kid is going to dream of doing,” said Lewis, who closed with four straight birdies to match the 63 shot by Australia’s Marcus Fraser in the men’s competition exactly one week earlier.
The leaderboard reflects the global nature of the competition, with a league of nations contending inside the top ten of an exciting women’s event. Hard on the heels of Park and Lewis are Canadian Brooke Henderson and Charley Hull, bidding to follow the gold medal performance of her fellow Briton, Justin Rose, last Sunday. Henderson also went low with a 64, while Hull tagged a 66 onto her initial 68 for an eight-under-par total of 134.
Right behind the leaders are three players at seven under par, Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen and Candie Kung of Chinese Taipei.
The youngest player in the field, 18-year-old Aditi Ashok of India is at six-under-par along with first round leader Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, Australia’s Minjee Lee, Korea’s In Gee Chun and American Gerina Piller.
Malaysia’s Kelly Tan and Michelle Koh improved considerably from their first round performances, firing 70 and 71 to move up into 50th and 52nd places respectively.