Ha Na Jang leads LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup

PHOENIX (AP) Everyone at the JTBC Founders Cup needed a good night of sleep.

The players who got up before dawn Friday were too tired to stay up late, and the women in the other half of draw had to be back on the course early Saturday to finish the second round.

”Going home, going to eat and got to go to bed,” Kim Kaufman said.

Ha Na Jang topped the leaderboard when darkness ended play at Desert Ridge. Hyo Joo Kim was a stroke back, and Kaufman and Stacy Lewis were another shot behind.

”It’s been a long 24 hours,” Lewis said. ”Definitely, get some good rest tonight.”

Jang birdied her final four holes to reach 11 under with seven holes left in the second round. Making her 13th career LPGA Tour start, she opened with a 4-under 68 on Thursday.

”Everything was better today,” said Jang, a six-time winner on the South Korean tour. ”I hit some very nice second shots. I gave myself birdie chances and made the putts. Really nice day.”

Kim played 30 holes Friday in the tournament that fell behind Thursday when rain delayed the start four hours. The Evian winner last year in France for her first major title, Kim completed a 65 in the first round and had a 69 in the second.

”I was sleepy this morning,” Kim said. ”I just played relaxed and I just think to myself, `Hit soft.’ That’s the key for me.”

Only half of the 132 players finished the second round.

Lewis, the 2013 winner, also played 30 holes. She opened with a 64, making seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to take the first-round lead, and had a 71 in the afternoon.

”I didn’t do too much different other than I just got on the wrong side of the hole,” Lewis said. ”The first round, I basically gave myself a lot of uphill putts, and then it was downhill, sidehill swingers. You’re not going to make very many of them.”

Kaufman bogeyed her final hole of the day, the par-4 12th.

”Try to forget about that,” Kaufman said. ”Wasn’t as smooth as yesterday. Felt like I was grinding for some pars, but we got it done – 3 under today.”

She will play 24 holes Saturday.

”Just going to keep doing what we are doing,” Kaufman said. ”Start on 13, a little wedge hole. Hopefully, get it started quickly tomorrow and keep it going.”

Karine Icher, Ilhee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee were 8 under.

Icher had the lead at 12 under before giving away four strokes with a triple bogey on 16 and a bogey on 18. She completed a 66 in morning and shot 70 in the afternoon.

On the 307-yard 16th, the French player drove into the right fairway bunker and hit her approach over the green and into a tangled mess of trees and desert brush.

”I just missed a shot,” Icher said. ”On this course, if you go too far over the green, you’re kind of dead. I had a bad hole, but it happens in golf. More golf to play Saturday and Sunday.”

Top-ranked Lydia Ko was in the group at 7 under with eight holes left. The 17-year-old New Zealander opened with a 66 on Thursday and was 1 under in the second round.

Ko won the Women’s Australian Open and the Ladies European Tour’s New Zealand Women’s Open in consecutive weeks this year. She nearly won last year at Desert Ridge, squandering a three-stroke lead with 13 holes left while tying for second – a stroke behind Karrie Webb.

Michelle Wie, paired with Ko, was 1 under overall after opening with a 73.

Webb, also the 2011 winner, shot 67-70 playing alongside Lewis.

”It was a long day, early morning,” Webb said. ”I think I made the most of the conditions this morning with the greens being freshly mowed. They got a little slow and bumpy this afternoon, but all in all, I feel like I played pretty solidly.”

Playing partner Yani Tseng, the 2012 winner, struggled with rounds of 75-77. She was 131st, nine strokes ahead of last-place Christine Song.