Lewis, Smith on top at Oz Masters

American Stacy Lewis and Aussie Kristie Smith will take a narrow lead into the third round of the ANZ Ladies Masters.

American Stacy Lewis and Australian Kristie Smith will take a narrow lead into the third round of the ANZ RACV Ladies Masters after both shot 7-under 65s at the Royal Pines resort on the Queensland’s Gold Coast on Friday.

Both had shot 67s in the opening round on Thursday and it meant that at 12-under par after 36 holes, they were one shot clear of Yani Tseng, the World No 2 and tournament favourite who left the course frustrated despite shooting a bogey-free 6-under 66..

Tseng, who will take over the world No.1 spot from Jiyai Shin of Korea if she wins this week, was visibly upset at what she saw as too many missed chances.

“It was a long day for me,” she said. “I was pretty stressed out on the course because I could not make any putts. I made most of my birdies on the par fives.

“However, I hung in there. I feel I could have shot 10 under. I was proud of myself for finishing with a six under.”

On a day of low scoring in near perfect conditions, a further six players – Ashleigh Simon of South Africa, Sandra Gal of Germany, Shin-Ae Ahn of Korea, Melissa Reid of England, Ryann O’Toole of the United States and Maria Hernandez of Spain – moved to 10 under par and a share of fourth place.

Lewis, who finished in eighth place when she played here for the first time in 2010, got her morning round going with a a birdie at the first hole and an eagle at the third and held on to the lead until caught by Smith late in the day.

In an indication of just how hot scoring was, defending champion Karrie Webb starting the day tied for the lead at six under, but when she reached the eighth hole at one-over,, she was already languishing in 41st position.

She rallied with a couple of late birdies to finish with a one-under 71 but found herself five shots off the pace in 25th place.

Further evidence of the low scoring was that the fact that the cut was made at four under par 140, the lowest in the tournament’s 22-year history.

The lowest round of the day was a blistering 63 shot by American Mollie Fankhauser who made nine birdies in the morning without dropping a shot.

After an opening 74 it left here at seven under and five shots from the lead.

The quality of her golf – only a shot shy of Webb’s course record of 62 – was not the only thing that caught the attention of the local media.

They had never seen any golfer, male or female, who is as heavily tattooed as she is and listened with great interests as she happily talk about how it allcame about, explaining that the tatooing process had started about five years ago when her aunt and uncle bought her a tatoo for her neck as a birthday present.

“It was encouraged by all my family members so I just went with it,” she said. “I’m the only tattooed person in my family. I think they are beautiful if they are done by the right person. They can be horrendous and ugly, but I have taken great care and researched the right artist.” The tattoos are clearly evident on her arms and she says she has more on her chest and elsewhere.

Webb’s quest to win the title for the eighth time received a severe set-back but few who have seen her previous seven victories here will write her off.

Five shots is not a lot to make up in two days, especially in light of her closing 61 last year when she won by win by six shots.

The cut reduced the field to 140 including amateurs Cecelia Cho of New Zealand and Minjee Lee, a 14-year-old who is the current Western Australian Amateur champion. Both are four shots off the lead in a tie for 16th place.