South Korea’s Kim In-kyung tied the tournament record with a stunning first-round 63 at the LPGA Thailand yesterday to take a three-stroke lead over world No. 1 Yani Tseng.
The South Korean started with a birdie and picked up nine more at the Siam Country Club despite damp conditions from heavy downpours earlier in the week.
“I started with a birdie and then kept making birdies,” Kim said. “My coach and I work on my game and it really helped today.”
“It was a good start so I couldn’t be happier,” she said.
Kim equaled the course record shot by 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen, Stacy Prammanasudh in 2009 and defending champ Ai Miyazato.
Taiwan’s Tseng and Juli Inkster (both 66) were three shots behind Kim.
“It’s a pretty good round for this course. It’s playing longer this year,” Tseng said. “I hit lots of seven-iron, six-iron, five-iron, which is totally different from last year. I just didn’t hit my irons as good, but I’m staying patient and I hope the next three days get better.”
Inkster started with bogeys on the second and third holes, before sinking seven birdies and an eagle to go with a third bogey late in the day.
Also near the top was Catriona Matthew (67) and Pettersen (68), followed by Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis (all 69).
Taiwan’s Candie Kung was in a group of seven players who shot two-under 70s.
NZ WOMEN’S OPEN
AP, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
Giulia Sergas of Italy shot an eight-under-par 64 yesterday to take a three-stroke lead after the first round of the New Zealand Women’s Open golf tournament.
The 31-year-old US-based Sergas played before afternoon winds made things difficult for the later golfers in the Ladies European Tour event at the par-72 Pegasus Golf Club north of Christchurch.
South Korea’s Kim Bo-bea was in second place after a 67, with American Amelia Lewis, France’s Cassandra Kirkland, Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands and Anja Monke of Germany third after 69s.
Auckland 13-year-old Lydia Ko, who tied for 12th at the Australian Open two weeks ago, was in a group at 70 despite having the worst of the afternoon conditions. She was level in seventh place with American Diana D’alessio and Elizabeth Bennett of England.
Defending champion Laura Davies of England shot 72 to share 15th place.
Sergas has not won a tournament since turning professional in 1999. Her career-best performance is a tie for sixth at the 2008 US Women’s Open.
“I was just on a roll. I was hitting the ball perfect and putting great,” Sergas said. “Sooner or later they were going in, I wasn’t forcing it. I have never had a chance to win but there has to be a first time.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER