Jang now the leader at US LPGA season opener


By Mark Long ,AP

OCALA, Florida — Ha Na Jang went from qualifier to leader in just a few days at the U.S. LPGA Tour season opener on Thursday.

The 22-year-old South Korean, ranked 21st in the world, shot a 7-under 65 in the second round of the Coates Golf Championship on Thursday and opened up a four-shot lead over Stacy Lewis heading into the third round.

Jang has full status on the LPGA Tour. But because the opener isn’t a full-field event, she had to qualify last Saturday. Her extra time at Golden Golf & Ocala Equestrian Club certainly paid dividends. She made one bogey in two rounds, and responded to that miscue with birdies on two of the next three holes.

��I hope to play well these next two days so people get to know who I am,�� Jang said through an interpreter.

The start of the second round was delayed 90 minutes because of frost, and the interruption prevented 50 players from completing 18 holes. They will return Friday morning to finish.

Jang might not want to wait to get back on the course. She sank a curl-in, 25-footer on her final hole in near-dark conditions to get to 12-under 132.

Although Jang is technically a rookie, she has plenty of experience. Her best LPGA finish was third in the 2014 Evian Championship last year. She also won six tournaments in five seasons on the KLPGA Tour and finished tied for 42nd at the Korean Women’s Open as a 12-year-old.

Lewis, one of three players to shoot 66 in the opening round, was 8 under heading into Friday’s third round.

��I just didn’t play quite as well today,�� said Lewis, the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to sweep the Rolex player of the year award, the Vare Trophy and the money list title last season.

World No. 2 Lydia Ko and Azahara Munoz were five back at 7 under. So were Angela Stanford and Austin Ernst, but they had holes to finish.