Rose Zhang among four tied for LPGA Match Play lead

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Rose Zhang watched her 2-stroke lead with two holes to play Thursday turn into a four-way tie for first place, the strong wind playing havoc with her and everyone else who teed off in the afternoon at the LPGA Tour’s T-Mobile Match Play.

Zhang ended the second round of the stroke-play portion at Shadow Creek with two straight bogeys, dropping her into a tie at 4-under 140 with first-round leader Sei Young Kim, Carlota Ciganda and Angel Yin. The latter two played in the morning, when warm temperatures and moderate wind created near-perfect playing conditions.

Then the expected gusts of more than 40 mph hit to provide those on the course with quite a challenge. No one with an afternoon tee time broke par.

“Shadow on its own is always a very difficult golf course and very easy to shoot over par here,” Zhang said. “With the wind, makes it tenfold a lot harder. So when I saw a little bit of the scores and the cut line, it justifies how difficult we played it today.”

The projected cut went from 5-over par to 9 over in about three hours, with 67 players making it through. It’s the highest cut line on the LPGA Tour since the 2020 Women’s British Open.

The top eight on Friday advance to the weekend, and any tie for the final spot will be resolved through a playoff. Then the tournament moves to match play. It was entirely a match-play event the first three years.

Zhang knocked her approach shot on No. 16 to within 3 feet for a birdie and two-shot lead. But she then bogeyed the 17th and hit her drive on No. 18 into the water, leading to another bogey and a second-round 73.

Kim faced her own ups and downs, twice lipping out putts on her back nine to finish with a 74.

“Even [with a] tough golf course and then tough conditions, I kind of enjoyed it,” Kim said. “It’s fun. A lot of factors on the green and it’s challenging every hole.”

Ciganda carried on her strong play from last week, when she tied for third in the Ford Championship in Arizona. She shot a bogey-free 67.

This is Yin’s first tournament since breaking her leg the week after Thanksgiving while in Austria. She carded a 68, crediting ibuprofen for helping get around the hilly, 6,765-yard course.

“I’m just happy to play,” Yin said. “No tournament next week, so I can rest all I want. If I can hash it out this week and see where my game is, because every single round I play I get to improve more.”

Las Vegas resident Danielle Kang began the day tied for second with Zhang, but shot an 83 on her home course and still made cut at 6 over.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda’s hopes of extending her three-tournament winning streak remain alive after she walked off with a 73 for the second day in a row, putting her at 2 over.

Defending champion Pajaree Anannarukarn shot a 79 and was 9 over, just enough to keep her in the tournament.


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