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Yang grabs one-shot lead at Orient Ningbo championship
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Yang Taoli put herself in contention to capture her second win of the China LPGA Tour season on Thursday when the Sichuan native carded an even-par 72 in the second round of the US$50,000 Orient Ningbo Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Australian Danielle Bowers (73).

China's Li Wei shot a tournament low four-under 68 in sunny but windy conditions to sit equal third with Australian Susie Mathews (73) and Thailand's Tiranan Yoopan (70) at two strokes off the pace.

Veteran Yang Hongmei (72) was a stroke back in sixth place, followed by Ye Liying (74) and Australian Kate Combes (74) in equal seventh.

Yang Taoli, the overnight co-leader who was an aggregate two-under 142 through 36 holes at the Orient (Ningbo) Sports and Country Club, struggled with her putting, recording two three-putts on the front nine and another on the par-three 13.

"I also missed some short putts so my score could have been better," lamented the winner of the opening leg in Beijing.

"The key to this course is putting. Without rough, the fairways are easy to handle. So those who are able to make putts will shoot a pretty score. Today the pin positions were much more difficult than yesterday with some very close to the edge of the green. With the wind blowing it's a bit tougher. Tomorrow, if I have a strong mindset, I can shoot a good score. I won't think about the result."

Perth native Bowers who shared the overnight lead with Yang and Huang Ping, started her round on the 10th hole and had a bad start that included four bogeys in her first six holes. She then rallied for birdies on the 17th and 18th and another on the seventh hole.

"Today I had a very bad start. I missed fairways and greens by just a little bit. But I realized I was doing that because I wasn't feeling as confident and I was second-guessing myself a little bit. I just thought 'Come on, stop being stupid. Nothing's changed'. So I gained some confidence and just tried to hit it a little bit harder and made birdie on the eighth (17th) and ninth (18th). On the back (front) nine I was putting for birdie on every hole so there were a lot of chances."

Li Wei, the former China national team player who lost a third-hole playoff to Yang Hongmei in Yantai in May, said her 68 was her best round in competition. After starting on the 10th hole and making the turn at one-under, she rebounded from a bogey five on the fourth hole to post four birdies in her last five holes.

"I was really glad to rally from the fifth hole. All the birdie putts were no longer than 10 feet. I was steady and I hit it much straighter today. The first round I couldn't make a birdie and I was really disappointed."

The 27-year-old Beijing native added she wanted to avoid another playoff and needed to continue working hard to earn her maiden win. "I never fear a playoff, but no one wants extra work. I must shoot two-under or three-under (tomorrow) to win my first tournament."

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2009)

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