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Wie right behind Shin in Mexico


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POSTED: Saturday, November 14, 2009

GUADALAJARA, Mexico » Jiyai Shin took a big step toward adding the LPGA Tour player of the year award to her top rookie trophy, shooting a 6-under 66 yesterday for a three-stroke lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

The 21-year-old South Korean star, a three-time winner this year who has a four-point lead over Ochoa in the player of the year race, had an 11-under 133 total on the Guadalajara Country Club course.

“;I don't know much (about) this course, so I try to just play safe,”; Shin said. “;Like just the middle of the fairway, just the middle of the green and make it a very simple game. ... I have found my tempo—great tempo. So I have a really good feeling.”;

Michelle Wie (66) and Paula Creamer (69) were tied for second, and first-round leader Song-Hee Kim (72) was four strokes back at 7 under. Suzann Pettersen (67), Brittany Lincicome (70), Cristie Kerr (70), Brittany Lang (70) and Mariajo Uribe (72) were 5 under.

Ochoa was 4 under after a 69 on her home course.

“;I'm OK,”; Ochoa said. “;It was a better round today, but I'm still a little behind. I hope the weekend will be better.”;

If Shin wins this week she'll wrap up the player of the year award if Ochoa fails to finish at least seventh. If not, the title will be decided next week in Houston in the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. Nancy Lopez is the only player to win both the rookie and player awards in the same season, accomplishing the feat in 1978.

Wie, winless on the LPGA Tour, eagled the 10th to reach 6 under. She hit two 3-woods and made a 5-foot putt. She added three birdies after that, though she dropped a shot on 17 when she missed a 4-foot putt.

“;I do feel really close,”; said Wie, who has two second-place finishes this year. “;I feel like I need to shoot a lot lower and play a lot better over the weekend. But if everything works out, hopefully it will be the week.”;

Her only nagging problem is a sprained left ankle that forced her to wear a large, black brace that extends 6 inches above her shoe top.

Asked if it was hurting her game, she replied: “;I don't know. I don't want to think about it.”;

Woods shares lead

MELBOURNE, Australia » Tiger Woods has stumbled to an even-par 72 in the Australian Masters, leaving him in a three-way tie for the lead with Greg Chalmers and James Nitties at 10-under 206.

The Australian duo each shot 69 today at Kingston Heath and will play in the final group.

Woods was so frustrated that at one point, he tried to flip his driver after a poor shot and it came out of his hands and sailed over the gallery before a surprised fan caught it. Leading by four shots after two holes, Woods missed the birdie chances he had and often scrambled for par just to stay around the top of the leaderboard.

No pressure for Leonard

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. » Justin Leonard shot an 8-under 64 in the second round of the Children's Miracle Network Classic yesterday, surging to the top of the leaderboard in the final Tour event of the season.

Leonard had 11 birdies and three bogeys on a sun-baked day at Disney World, where the 15 mph winds caused problems for some players. Justin Rose and George McNeill were two strokes back.

Kaneohe native Dean Wilson shot a 65 to rise from a tie for 120th into a tie for 33rd at 4-under par. Wilson entered the tournament 152nd on the money list.

Punahou product Parker McLachlin, who is 173rd on the money list, shot a 71 to miss the cut by three strokes.

Only those who finish in the top 125 on the money list are guaranteed full status. The next 25 will at least get conditional status and be able to enter more than a dozen tournaments.