WUHAN, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Weiwei put herself within reach of a hometown win on Friday as the Hubei native shot a two-under par 70 to open up a three-shot lead after two rounds of the Wuhan Challenge.
Through 36 holes of the 500,000-yuan China Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour event, Zhang was on seven-under 137 at the Orient Wuhan.
Pitsaon Chaichompoo, one of four Thais among the top 10, was equal second after a 70, tied with Japanese Yu Okamura (67) and Ayaka Suzuki (68).
Chinese amateur Pan Jiehong was equal fifth after a 68, tied with compatriot Pan Yanhong (69) at four strokes back.
Zhang, the overnight leader, started her morning round on the Orient Wuhan back nine with a two-shot cushion and quickly got to work. A birdie four at the 457-yard 12th hole (her third hole) got her to six-under. She would then pick up another stroke at the 16th hole (her seventh hole) before making a bogey five at the 351-yard 18th hole (her ninth hole). Her back nine (the front nine) also yielded two birdies and a bogey.
The 22-year-old, who was playing her fourth straight tournament, lamented that she didn't feel ready starting from the 10th hole and struggled early on with her driver.
"My tee shots kept going left or right so I had to try to save par in my front nine. On the third hole (the 12th hole) I made a birdie putt. After that my tee shots started getting straight. On my last hole (the ninth hole), my tee shot and second shot both went left. I was targeting a par and I am glad I did it," said Zhang, the current China LPGA Tour Order of Merit leader.
"Although I am tired, my plan for tomorrow is still the same, to be aggressive. I can't think about keeping my score. I have to push myself and try to make a breakthrough. I won't care about how the competitors from my group are doing, or other players from different groups. I just want to be better."
Yu, one of the eight Japanese players in the 120-player field this week, also started on the back nine and got stronger as her round progressed with six birdies, including four over her last six holes, and a lone bogey.
"Compared to yesterday, my putting and iron play was much more reliable. But the greens are hard and it is not easy to read the lines," said the 22-year-old Ibaraki native.
"I am tired, but I feel good. I will not think about going for a win. I just want to play my golf, just like today."
Pan Jiehong, a Hainan based 15-year-old, carded an adventurous round with seven birdies, including three straight from the 15th hole, and three consecutive bogeys starting from the ninth hole.
"It's hot today but I am used to it because I always play golf in Hainan. The fairways are narrow and this course is a great test for your short game," said the Guangdong-born teenager who in April competed in the Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific Golf Championship in Japan where she missed the cut.
"I have played three CLPGA Tour events this year but I didn't make the cut. My goal was to make the cut this week and I have done that."