Gal pushes lead to 3 in Florida
Naples, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Sandra Gal managed a 3-under 69 on Friday and extended her lead to three strokes after two rounds of the CME Group Titleholders.
Gal finished 36 holes at 11-under-par 133 and set a new 36-hole scoring record. A day after she matched the course record, Gal's total of 133 beat Na Yeon Choi's two-day total of 135 from last year.
Sun Young Yoo carded her second straight 68 to end alone in second place at minus-8. Gerina Piller fired a 5-under 67, the low round of the day Friday, to move into a share of third place.
Piller was joined at 6-under-par 138 by Cristie Kerr (69) and Pornanong Phatlum (68). Morgan Pressel used a 68 at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz- Carlton Golf Resort to climb into a tie for sixth. She stands alongside Hee Young Park (70) and Anna Nordqvist (73).
Women's world No. 1 Inbee Park dipped into a tie for ninth at minus-4 after posting an even-par 72 in round two. Natalie Gulbis (70), Shanshan Feng (74), Lexi Thompson (74), Jennifer Johnson (69) and Azahara Munoz (68) are tied with Park in ninth place.
Gal stumbled to a bogey on the second. After she converted back-to-back birdie chances at six and seven, she tripped to another bogey on the ninth to make the turn at minus-8.
The German slowly pulled away from the field on the back nine. After starting with a pair of pars, she converted a birdie effort on the par-3 12th. Gal got to 10-under with a birdie on No. 15.
Gal hit her drive into the trees on the par-5 17th. Despite being near a bush, she punched her second shot back into the fairway. From there, she hit her third onto the green and converted the birdie try, which extended her lead to three. She parred the last to end there.
"I think I was a little nervous in the start, but it was also quite tough out there. It was a lot windier than yesterday, so all the holes played really different," Gal stated. "It took me a little bit to kind of get used to the conditions and hitting more 3-woods instead of drivers because a lot of the shots were crosswinds or into the wind.
"So I just was trying to keep the ball down a little bit or straighter, which is easier with a 3-wood. It took me a while to get used to that. As you said, I like the back nine, I think there's more birdie opportunities there and it was nice to just drop a couple putts in the end."
Yoo got off to a quick start with back-to-back birdies at two and three. She ran off three straight pars from the fourth before a birdie at the seventh got her to minus-7.
The 2012 Kraft Nabisco champion cruised to eight consecutive pars from the eighth. Yoo birdied the par-5 14th to grab second place. She finished her round with four more pars.
"The last two days I played really well, so I'm very pleased the way I played," said Yoo. "I'm in good position to play next two days so I'm very happy."
NOTES: Gal owns the 36-hole lead for the second time in her career ... Na Yeon Choi, the defending champion, tripped to a 3-over 74 to fall into a tie for 36th at plus-1 ... Just 16 of the 69 players broke par in round two.
11/22 18:41:23 ET