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Icher jumps on top of Hanabank championship


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INCHEON, South Korea >> Karine Icher of France shot a 4-under 68 in the second round to take a one-stroke lead at the top of the European-dominated leaderboard at the KEB-HanaBank Championship on Friday.

Icher birdied three of her final four holes for a 5-under 139 total on the Ocean Course at the Sky72 Golf Club. 

Brittany Lincicome of the United States, who birdied her final two holes for a 70, and Beatriz Ricari of Spain (70), were tied for second.

Azahara Munoz of Spain (69) was among those tied for fourth, two strokes behind, as were Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Sandra Gal of Germany, who shot 71s.

The wind subsided, but Icher said she played "a completely different course" in the second round because of the changing wind directions.

"This week, my coach was here and we practiced a lot of low shots," Icher said. "It seemed to pay off. Here, it’s always windy. I’ve never played in Korea without wind. Low shots are pretty strong in my game now."

Icher has five victories on the Ladies European Tour but none on the LPGA circuit.

"It’s the final four or five tournaments for us, so I’d like to win one," Icher said. "There’s nothing else I’m looking for."

Lincicome’s tee shot on the par-3 17th hole nearly won her a new car for a hole-in-one when it rolled and hit the flagstick, but it bounced a few feet away.

"I like tournaments where not too many, maybe like 5 or 10 under par wins, so just keep doing 2-under each day, and I’m right there," Lincicome said.

U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie improved from her opening 76 with a 70, and is seven strokes off the lead. 

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