By Elspeth Burnside

SOUTHPORT, England (Reuters) - A pep talk from golfing great Annika Sorenstam spurred Taiwan's Yani Tseng to grab a commanding four-shot lead in the second round of the women's British Open Friday.

The 21-year-old Florida resident, who bought former world number one Sorenstam's house in Orlando, carded a second straight 68 before Royal Birkdale was deluged by rain.

"I asked her (Annika) how I could become the world number one and she taught me a lot," fifth-ranked Tseng told reporters. "She knows that I am a very aggressive player but she told me that I had to play smarter."

Tseng took on board the Swede's advice and sunk five birdies in the second round.

She pulled off a great escape at the par-five 15th, where she carved her first tee shot into the rough and hit an even wilder provisional. But fortune was again on her side as she found the first ball and rescued a par.


After reaching the halfway point on eight-under-136, she is determined to stay in front of the chasing pack.

"I've never led a major in the early rounds before. I'm going to try and lead all the way this week," the twice major winner told reporters.

South Korea's Amy Yang (71) along with Americans Cristie Kerr (67) and Brittany Lincicome (71) shared second place on four under.

World number one Shin Jiyai, who carded a 71 in the worst of the weather, was also still in the hunt on two under.

U.S. Open champion Paula Creamer aggravated a thumb injury hitting out of the rough at the 17th but survived the cut by a shot after a 74 took her to four over par.

But there was no lucky escape for holder Catriona Matthew. The Scot's challenge ended before the weekend after she ran up an embarrassing 10 at the par-four 13th.

After driving into a bramble bush, she hit a third shot into deep rough and attempted three hacks before taking a penalty drop and making a chip and two putts.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)