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Golf - 22. February 2008.

JJ Comes Out Punching

Tim Maitland in Oahu, Hawaii

A month of Thai boxing helped Korea's Jeong Jang take a two-shot lead into today's second round of the Fields Open LPGA event in Hawaii.


The 27-year old shot a first-round eight-under-par 64 to equal Lorena Ochoa's tournament record and afterwards credited her new training regime for her improvement.

"I started boxing because I wanted to lose a little weight after gaining 10 lbs during the winter," said Jeong, the 2005 Weetabix Women's British Open, who qualified for next week's HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore through her victory in that Major.

"Boxing's really good training for working on you sides so that I'm hitting it a little straighter and a little further than last year. I like it because I don't have to think about golf when I'm training; no stress. That's helped me a lot."

Suffering from flu-like symptoms for the best part of week worked in Paula Creamer's favour as the American as she finished Thursday in second place.

Dressed, not in her characteristic pink, but instead wearing green, Creamer carded a six under par 66 that included five birdies on her back nine.

Stricken by illness the 21-year-old spent most of the week working on the putting green because it was the only thing she felt well enough to do.

"I couldn't move. It was pretty bad. So, I practiced a lot of putting. It doesn't take a lot of energy putting so I did that and worked on my stroke. The biggest thing for me (in the first round) was just my confidence in my putting."

Creamer shot a final-round 69 despite feeling so unwell to finish 12th at last week's SBS Open, which, coupled with her start here gives her cause to be optimistic when she takes her place in the HSBC Women's Champions field.

"I'm working on a lot of things, but I do feel good. I feel good for this week and going into Singapore as well," she said.

A shot further behind were fellow Americans Angela Stanford and Kelli Kuehne. Kuehne made a similarly fast start a week ago but needed 12 more shots to complete her second round.

Taiwanese rookie Yani Tseng and Dorothy Delasin, part of the Philippines World Cup-winning pairing in January, were among a swathe of players on four-under, which included Japan's Miho Koga, the 25-year-old winner of last year's season-ending Major, the JLPGA Championship.

Michelle Wie, back on home turf, posted a three-under-par round of 69; a score which suggest that she has put all her troubles of last year behind her. But the numbers posted may have flattered her somewhat, as she missed more than half the fairways off the tee and made only nine of the 18 greens in regulation. Afterwards she was more pleased with her frame of mind than the way she played.

"I was proud of myself because I didn't think of anything but just playing. I just stayed in the present; just stayed with my shots," she said.

Annika Sorenstam, newly promoted to world number two after winning last week, carded a two under par 70 as did defending champions Stacy Prammanasudh.

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