The heavy hitters of the LPGA teed off this morning (3-00 a.m. Saturday a.m. Singapore time) at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay hoping that the weather favours them the way it did the early starters on day one.
At first glance the leaderboard after 18 holes offered no sign of a Tiger-like start to the season for Annika Sorenstam and no sight of last-year's five-time winner Suzann Pettersen. Instead two veterans, one recently reinstated after a trip to Q School, the other sporting a new name, headed the list.
Kelli Kuehne lead after she took full advantage of the early-morning benign conditions to card a five-under-par 67. Second group out on the back nine, she had made four of her birdies by the turn. The fifth came courtesy of a 60-foot putt – a veritable three-day camel ride to the hole on the 4th, her 13th.
"I made a bomb. It was a long way, a long way," said the 30-year-old Kuehne, who had to re-earn her LPGA card this winter and has become better known recently as the sister of Hank, also a professional golfer who is in turn better known as the Venus Williams' boyfriend.
"I was lucky. I was able to take advantage of a calmer course," she added.
A shot further back is the-golfer-formerly-known-as-Young-A Yang, playing for the first time as Jacqueline Yang and causing considerable confusion in the process. She too was a morning starter as was 2006 Weetabix Women's Open winner Sheri Steinhauer, who headed a gaggle of players on three under par.
Among that group were the cream of the afternoon starters, including 2007 US Open winner Cristie Kerr and Australian Lindsey Wright, who was hoping that her early morning start today would also be rewarded with calm conditions.
"If it's anything like my luck it'll probably blow a gale," Wright said.
"I don't mind the wind as long as it isn't gusty. You had to commit to your shots (on the first day). It wasn't bad out there, but it was gusty so sometimes it would push the ball higher in the air and sometimes it would knock it down."
Sorenstam and defending champion Paula Creamer started the second day three shots behind the leader after two-under-par opening rounds.
Suzann Pettersen, struggling at four over par at one point, reclaimed two of those shots before the close, but refused to put any blame on the switch to her new Nike clubs.
"It was my first day back at work. I was a little rusty," said the Norwegian.
Japanese superstar Ai Miyazato shot a four-over-par 76, but at least it seems that the horrendous struggles she had with her driver last year might be behind her. This time, she reported, it was her putter that let her down
photo Dan Vernon
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photo Dan Vernon