AFP BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AFP-Jiji) — China’s Feng Shanshan shook off persistent rain and the commotion of a presidential visit on Friday to fire a 2-under 70 and stretch her U.S. Women’s Open lead to two strokes.
Feng had three birdies and a bogey for a 36-hole total of 8-under 136.
That was good enough for a two-stroke lead over South Korea’s Lee Jeong Eun6, Amy Yang and Choi Hye Jin, who all shared second on 138.
Choi, a 17-year-old amateur, teed off on 10 and joined Feng atop the leaderboard after a burst of four straight birdies from the 18th hole. But she faded with bogeys at the Nos. 7 and 8 to join her compatriots at 6 under.
Lee, last year’s KLPGA Rookie of the Year playing her first tournament in the United States, set an early target with a second straight 69 on a rainy morning at Trump National Golf Club.
Lee — the ‘6’ in her name distinguishes her from five other KLPGA players with the same name — was eventually joined by Choi and Yang, who went into the second round one stroke behind Feng and fired a 71.
Feng said she wasn’t bothered by the sometimes heavy rain that fell through much of her round, and she didn’t get too distracted to the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made his namesake club in Bedminster a frequent weekend retreat this summer.
Trump arrived in a motorcade fresh from a Bastille Day trip to Paris, and watched from an enclosed viewing area near the 15th green, offering a few waves for cheering fans who eagerly snapped his picture.
“I heard people like kind of screaming, so that’s what I was trying to find out, like why they were screaming,” Feng said of the movement around the green, where marshals had to remind the gallery that play was continuing.
“But I was still really focusing on my game,” Feng said. “I didn’t really get distracted.”
Trump’s visit marked the first time a sitting president has attended the U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Golf Association was unrepentantly welcoming despite the controversy sparked by Trump’s controversial remarks about women during his presidential campaign.
While there were fears his visit would spark protests, fans at the course were supportive and players apparently unfazed.
The trio sharing second were followed by another South Korean, with Bae Seon Woo alone in fifth after a 69 for 139.