Hsu, Sagstrom take charge at LPGA Australian Open

Hsu Wei-ling (Facebook screengrab)

ADELAIDE: Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom rocketed into a three-shot lead at the LPGA Tour Australian Open Friday, as world number one Ariya Jutanugarn rallied to make the cut.

Hsu, who is angling for a maiden LPGA title after collecting a career-high four top-10 finishes last year, hit four birdies to one bogey in her second-round 69 to be 10 under for the tournament.

She is tied at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide with Sagstrom, who birdied the final hole to fire a second successive 67 as she guns to better her best performance from last year, which was tied 15th.

“I struggled a bit with the irons today, some went short, but overall very good,” said Hsu, who at 24 is fast-emerging as her country’s top talent.

“Just hopefully I can keep making more birdies at the weekend. I think maybe 18 under could win the tournament.”

Lurking three shots back are Australia’s Hannah Green, Japan’s Haru Nomura and American Nelly Korda, whose 66 was the joint best round of the day with England’s Charley Hull.

“I just stayed really consistent, hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens,” said Korda, the world number 16 who finished third at the Tournament of Champions last month.

England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff, the joint overnight leader with Hsu, remains in contention, four off the frontrunners after carding a 73.

Thai star Ariya hauled herself back into the tournament with a 69, including five birdies, that left her at one-over par, just inside the cut line. It followed her disappointing 76 on day one.

While she made the grade, it was a horror day for New Zealand’s former top-ranked Lydia Ko who returned a 77. She missed the cut, as did reigning British Open champion and world number eight Georgia Hall.