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Golf: Germany's Masson clings to LPGA lead

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Germany's Caroline Masson endured a tough finish but still held on to the lead at the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout on Friday at the halfway stage.

Masson, a rookie on the US women's tour, followed up a bogey-free first-round 64 with an even par 71 for a seven-under total of 135 -- one stroke in front of Carlota Ciganda of Spain.

Ciganda, the Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour in 2012, fired a one-under 70 for 136.

"I didn't play as good as yesterday, but I expected that after that round yesterday," Masson said.

"I was off to a good start with a birdie on one, which was really nice. And it calmed me down a little bit, and after that I just made a few good pars, but I also made some good putts for birdie."

But Masson ran into trouble late in the round, with bogeys at three of the last four holes. That included capping her round with a bogey at the par-five 18th.

"That was just some bad shots on the last few holes, but still I think a round of level par is never bad," she said. "I'm just looking forward to the weekend."

Thai teenager Moriya Jutanugarn rocketed up the leaderboard with a five-under par 66 that moved her into a tie for third on 137 along with world No. 1 Park In-Bee of South Korea and American Kathleen Ekey.

Park carded a 70 and Ekey a 67.

"Today was a little bit windier than yesterday," Park said. "So it was a little bit more challenging with picking clubs."

Park, who teed off on 10, missed putts of around five feet at each of her last two holes.

But she enjoyed good fortune mid-round, when she pushed her second shot at the par-five 18th to the right and hit bounced off the rocks near the water and back into the fairway.

"After I hit the ball, I thought it was definitely in the water because I wanted to hit it to the left on the bunker side, but I hit a push and I thought it was definitely in the water but everybody clapped, so I thought I got really lucky and ended up with a birdie on that hole," Park said.

"So it was very good."

Former world No. 1 Tseng Ya-ni of Taiwan headlined a group sharing sixth place on 138, which also included Feng Shanshan -- whose victory in the LPGA Championship last year made her the first LPGA winner from China.

Tseng hasn't won an LPGA title since March of 2012.

She opened her 2013 campaign with a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open and a tie for third at the Honda LPGA Thailand. She has failed to finish inside the top 28 in four tournament since then.

"I'm not worrying about No. 1 or anything about (the) ranking," Tseng said. "Now I just want to win a tournament. I think the ranking is just a bonus if you're winning."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130426/golf-germanys-masson-clings-lpga-lead