Icher surges clear in NY

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Karine Icher has shaken off first round co-leader Hee Young Park and leads the Corning Classic in New York.

Karine Icher of France has shaken off first round co-leader Hee Young Park and taken over sole possession of the lead at the Corning Classic in New York.

While Park was dropping away from the top of the leaderboard with a second round 73, Icher added a sizzling 6-under 66 to her stunning first round 64 for a 36-hole 14-under 130 that saw her surge into two-shot lead over another Korean, Hee-Won Han.

Seon Hwa Lee (67), Soo-Yun Kang (69) and Na Yeon Choi (68) of South Korea are tied with Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden (67), Sandra Gal (69) of Germany, and Sarah Kemp (68) of Australia in a log-jam for third at 10-under heading into Saturday’s third round.

“You can go low 60s out here,” said an enthused Parmlid, who has never finished higher than 10th in her five years in the US. “If you have a good iron day – oh my gosh! – you can light things up.”

Icher did just that – with gusto

She eclipsed the 36-hole record of 131 held by Michelle Estill (2004) and Beth Bader (2007) and matched the lowest consecutive rounds set by Juli Inkster on the final two rounds of her 2003 Corning Classic victory.

“If the other players can make birdies, I can do it, too,” said Icher, whose best career finish to dater was a second in 2005 at the Corona Morelia Championship.

“I know you learn more from your mistakes. I did a lot in the past. I was short to win some tournaments in ’05 and ’06. I hope right now it’s going to help me go forward and I don’t make the same mistakes.”

Icher averaged nearly 260 yards off the tee and continued to excel with her short game on the narrow, tree-lined layout.

Of her seven birdies, four came on putts inside 10 feet, but she also played with a fine tough when she did find the rough. Her final birdie putt was uphill on the undulating green at the par-3 seventh hole, and she smiled broadly when the ball curled into the hole.
Over the two rounds, Icher hit 32 of 36 greens and 19 of 28 fairways, did not have a three-putt green, and needed just 56 putts.

“My driving was not so good as yesterday.

“I missed some fairways, but I had good putts. Right now what is working is my driving and my putting. If you drive in the middle and you putt well, you’re going to make some birdies. This is the key. But this course still demands a lot of thinking. You can be five feet from the hole and be dead.”

Han (67), who won at Corning three years ago, continued to enjoy the four forgiving par-5s. Over the first two rounds, she had six birdies on these holes and briefly tied Icher at 14 under with a birdie at the par-4 sixth hole before dropping back with a pair of bogeys on her final three holes.

“It was pretty important,” Han said of her scoring on the par-5s. “But there are lots of good players out there. Someone tomorrow can come out and go 10 or 11 under.”

This is the final Corning Classic, and Lee is accustomed to playing in this atmosphere. She won the final Shoprite Classic in 2006, the final HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship in 2007, and the final Ginn Tribute last year.

“I didn’t think about that,” Lee said. “If I win, it’s another.”

The Corning Classic, the only one on the LPGA Tour that’s had the same title sponsor and been hosted at the same venue every year since its inception (1979), will not be staged next year.

Tournament officials announced in April that they could not afford to renew their contract with the LPGA because of financial problems after title sponsor Corning Inc. pulled out and it’s put third placed Lee in a good place, mentally.

She won the final Shoprite Classic in 2006, the final HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship in 2007, and the final Ginn Tribute last year.

“I didn’t think about that,” Lee said. “If I win, it’s another.”

ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 72):

130 Karine Icher (Fra) 64 66
132 Hee-Won Han (Kor) 65 67
134 Seon Hwa Lee (Kor) 67 67, Na Yeon Choi (Kor) 66 68, Soo-Yun Kang (Kor) 65 69, Mikaela Parmlid (Swe) 67 67, Sarah Kemp (Aus) 66 68, Sandra Gal (Ger) 65 69
135 Minea Blomqvist (Fin) 65 70, Jimin Jeong 66 69, Reilley Rankin 67 68, Song-Hee Kim (Kor) 67 68, Suzann Pettersen (Nor) 67 68
136 Lindsey Wright (Aus) 67 69, Mi-Hyun Kim (Kor) 69 67, Beth Bader 70 66, Lorie Kane (Can) 70 66, Helen Alfredsson (Swe) 67 69, Meredith Duncan 69 67
137 Wendy Doolan (Aus) 70 67, Ji-Young Oh (Kor) 70 67, Mika Miyazato (Jpn) 70 67, Nicole Castrale 66 71, Hee Young Park (Kor) 64 73, Katherine Hull (Aus) 68 69
138 Il Mi Chung (Kor) 67 71, Morgan Pressel 66 72, In Kyung Kim (Kor) 69 69, Sarah Lee 65 73, Pat Hurst 69 69, Brittany Lang 70 68, Michele Redman 72 66, Paula Creamer 66 72, Ya-Ni Tseng (Kor) 68 70, Natalie Gulbis 68 70, Becky Morgan (Wal) 69 69, Angela Stanford 69 69, Marcy Hart 69 69
139 Stacy Prammanasudh 69 70, Meena Lee (Kor) 67 72, Jamie Hullett 69 70, Cristie Kerr 68 71, Kris Tamulis 69 70, Jee Young Lee (Kor) 72 67, Vicky Hurst 70 69, Ai Miyazato (Jpn) 69 70, Ji-Yai Shin (Kor) 68 71, Se Ri Pak (Kor) 73 66, Momoko Ueda (Jpn) 72 67, Amy Hung (Tha) 68 71, Janice Moodie (Sco) 69 70
140 Na On Min (Jpn) 67 73, Sun Young Yoo (Kor) 72 68, Amy Yang 68 72, Russy Gulyanamitta (Tha) 70 70, Michelle Wie 73 67, Jimin Kang (Kor) 69 71, Rachel Hetherington (Aus) 69 71, Mollie Fankhauser 70 70, Eunjung Yi (Kor) 71 69, Alena Sharp (Can) 69 71, Stacy Lewis 71 69
141 Karen Stupples (Eng) 73 68, Haeji Kang (Kor) 68 73, Anna Grzebien 70 71, Brittany Lincicome 70 71, Maria Hjorth (Swe) 73 68, Wendy Ward 72 69, Sung Ah Yim (Kor) 70 71, Teresa Lu (Tai) 71 70, Anna Nordqvist 69 72, Eva Dahllof (Swe) 72 69, Allison Hanna-Williams 70 71, Shanshan Feng (Chn) 69 72
Missed the cut
142 Shi Hyun Ahn (Kor) 74 68, Jill McGill 72 70, Paige Mackenzie 71 71, Brandi Burton 71 71, Angela Park (Bra) 71 71, Louise Stahle (Swe) 72 70, Leah Wigger 75 67, Mindy Kim 69 73, Shiho Oyama (Jpn) 69 73, Carin Koch (Swe) 71 71, Carri Wood 69 73, Meaghan Francella 72 70, Moira Dunn 70 72, Karin Sjodin (Swe) 70 72
143 Joo Mi Kim (Kor) 72 71, Chella Choi (Kor) 71 72, Eun Hee Ji (Kor) 74 69, Jin Joo Hong (Kor) 71 72, Kim Hall 71 72, Christina Kim 71 72, Stephanie Louden 72 71, Louise Friberg (Swe) 72 71, Sophie Gustafson (Swe) 72 71, Laura Davies (Eng) 72 71, Kris Tschetter 69 74
144 Johanna Mundy (Eng) 74 70, Ashleigh Simon (Rsa) 70 74, Maggie Will 74 70, Heather Bowie young 75 69, Diana D’Alessio 71 73, Kristy McPherson 73 71
145 Jeanne Cho-Hunicke 77 68, Jennifer Rosales (Phi) 70 75, Young Jo (Kor) 74 71, Erica Blasberg 72 73, Liselotte Neumann (Swe) 74 71, Anna Rawson (Aus) 75 70
146 Linda Wessberg (Swe) 75 71, Becky Lucidi 77 69, Irene Cho 71 75, Charlotte Mayorkas 75 71, Jeehae Lee (Kor) 73 73, Jackie Gallagher-Smith 69 77, Marisa Baena 72 74, M.j Hur (Kor) 73 73
147 Sophie Giquel (Fra) 73 74, In-Bee Park (Kor) 70 77, Katie Futcher 76 71
148 Jin young Pak (Kor) 75 73, Laura Diaz 76 72, Brandi Jackson 76 72, Sarah-jane Smith (Aus) 73 75, Dorothy

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