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Kang, Pan share Beijing Challenge lead

(Xinhua)    09:27, June 06, 2015

BEIJING, June 6 -- Kang Hyeon-seo grabbed a share of the second-round lead at the Beijing Challenge on Friday when the South Korean carded a birdie four on the final hole for a five-under 67 to draw even with China's Pan Yanhong (68) at six-under through 36 holes.

On a tight leaderboard, Chinese veterans Guo Caizhu (69) and Zhang Na (72) were one shot back at the RMB500,000 China LPGA Tour event being played at Beijing Orient Pearl Golf Course. Thailand's Pennapa Pulsawath (73) was in equal fifth with China's Shi Yuting (69) and Tian Hong (71), two shots off the pace.

Kang, runner-up at the Buick Championship last month in Shanghai, put herself into contention for her first pro win when she rebounded from two bogeys to birdie three of her last five holes.

"My driver wasn't good today. I tried to drive with three-wood off the tee and try to keep it in play," said the 27-year-old Busan native who currently sits second on the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit. "Tomorrow, I will go for it. I will never give up, no matter what happens."

Starting her round from the back nine, Pan had a bogey-free round going with five birdies through 14 holes. She dropped her only stroke with a five at the par-four sixth hole before registering par over her final three holes to keep in the hunt for her sixth China LPGA Tour win.

In having to scramble for birdies on three out of the four par-five holes today, the Hebei native lamented her greens in regulations could have been better.

"My putter deserves a pat on the back, because it was so brilliant," said the 31-year-old, winner of the Australia Classic in May. "My scrambling was great with a sharp short game. Even though I missed greens, I could save pars. I only made one mistake when I missed a 10 foot par putt (at the sixth hole) after I missed the green."

With the fairways at Beijing Orient Pearl being fairly wide, the big-hitting Pan said the course suited her game.

"There is thick rough, but I was able to handle it without issue," said the former powerlifter. "Now I have a great chance to win a second trophy this year. Tomorrow, I would definitely give it my best shot."

Guo, a 28-year-old from Kunming, also started her round on the back nine. After a birdie on her fifth hole (the 14th), she recorded an eagle three at the next when her 30-foot putt found the cup. Following a birdie four at her 10th hole (the first hole) to get to six-under, she failed to mount a challenge, recording a bogey five at her 15th hole (the sixth hole) to fall out of a share of the lead.

With her friend Yan Panpan getting her maiden win last week in Qingdao, Guo said she was using that as inspiration to hopefully get her first title.

"I was good at everything except putting. Now putting is my weak point and today was no exception. So I'm happy to make a 30-foot putt for eagle at the 14th hole," she said.

"I still left some shots out there because of poor putting. Now I have a great chance. Yan's win is my motivation. We have played together for six years, so hopefully tomorrow is my day."

Sui Xiang was the top amateur as the 16-year-old Guangdong teenager continued to impress, shooting a 71 to get to three-under, tied for equal eighth.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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