Women’s British Open: Choi glides into St Andrews lead

Korean moves to 10 under after second 67

The right side of the draw was an early start on Friday – Na Yeon Choi teed off at 12.32pm but still leads the Women’s British Open.

As the vast majority of her afternoon peers shot in the mid to high 70s the Korean somehow mustered four birdies in the first eight holes and then added two more, at the 12th and 15th, while adding a string of pars around them.

The 25-year-old has only one Major to her name – last year’s US Open at Blackwolf Run – but there have been nine other top-10 finishes and three of them here.

Indeed her worst finish in a British Open was a tie for 21st in her first outing five years ago.

The US Open is one of seven wins on the LPGA Tour though none have come this year mainly due to a few problems on the greens. This week however the putter has been behaving nicely with a 40-footer disappearing at the 5th before a 35-footer went the same way from off the green at the 15th.

Choi revealed that a new routine and some practice with her eyes shot, on the practice putting green at least, have helped to add some feel and imagination.

“I change my routine in basic stuff and I tried to close one eye and hit the putt and that gave me some confidence. Two months ago I couldn’t even hit a putt, I couldn’t trust myself.”

Her trust now is complete, both in her coach and her caddy for this week (both are Irish).

“They control me a lot this week and like 100 per cent I trust them. My coach is encouraging me a lot and he gave me a pep talk and also my mental coaches are here. All my team is here; trainer, manager, coach, mental coach, caddy, everybody is here. If I have a good result this week that’s because I have a good team.”  


"If I have a good result this week that’s because I have a good team" – Na Yeon Choi One shot behind is Japan’s Miki Saiki who holed two approach shots en route to an outward half of just 30 while Morgan Pressel, chasing a Solheim place, was steadiness personified. Her second round featured no bogeys and two birdies.

The European effort rests with Suzann Pettersen at seven under, after a 67 in the morning, and Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid who posted a second 69.

Fellow Korean Inbee Park will have to come from eight back if she is to record four straight Major wins.

Defending and two-time champion Jiyai Shin finished at one under after a 72.

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