Kung's 65 Leads Women's British Open

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP) _ Candie Kung turned 21 atop the leaderboard at the Women's British Open while being chased by two champions.

Kung shot a 65 Thursday to lead Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak, who have nine combined major victories _ all in the last four years.

Webb went into Friday's second round one stroke behind Kung while Pak was one of four players just two behind.

Pak, who has four majors, is the defending champion. Webb is a two-time British Open winner.

With unexpectedly calm conditions making the Turnberry links a far easier ride, Webb and Pak moved into contention again with some precision approach play and standout putting.

``On this course, even as easy as the conditions were today, I don't think you were ever expecting to go out there and shoot 66,'' said Webb, winner of this tournament on the inland courses of Woburn and Sunningdale. ``So I feel really good about that.''

Swedish star Annika Sorenstam was eight strokes back after a 73, and U.S. Open champion Juli Inkster shot a 75.

Pak has bad memories of her debut on a links course four years ago when, having won two majors in her rookie year, her game was blown away in the wind and rain at Lytham St. Annes. She vowed never to return but, with this tournament a major as of last year, she is virtually committed.

``Back in 1998 I don't think I had any idea of the different kind of conditions on the golf course,'' said Pak, who bogeyed the first hole but responded with six birdies. ``When I think about then it's kind of stressful, too.

``A couple of years later my game improved a lot, and I have learned a lot about different kinds of golf courses.''

Tied with Pak at 67 were Tina Barrett, Germany's Elisabeth Esterl and Sweden's Carin Koch.

Barrett, the leading American in a star-studded field, had a chance to tie for second place with Webb but missed a five-foot birdie putt at the last.

``I putted really well all day so I really can't complain,'' she said. ``I pushed it just a touch and it lipped out. It could easily have lipped in, too.''

Facing her first news conference at a major, Kung, from Taiwan, described how she took up golf after her family moved to the United States to support her brother who was at school.

``We moved to the States in '95 and I had nothing to do at that time, and that's how I got started,'' said Kung, who had seven birdies in a bogey-free round.

``My brother was here for school, and we had to move because of him. Now he's done with school. He caddied for me earlier in the year.''

Kung, the 1999 American Junior Golf Association player of the year, tied for ninth at the Sybase Big Apple Classic two weeks ago and seventh at the Wendy's Championship for Children last week.

``I was hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks, and, coming into this week, just pretty much tried to do the same thing,'' Kung said. ``Today my putts were going in, and that was about it.''