Two-time champion Shin Ji-yai of South Korea shared a one-stroke lead with Japan’s Ayako Uehara after the first round of the LPGA Mizuno Classic yesterday.
The 24-year-old South Korean, the winner in 2008 and 2010, who also bagged a major title at the British Open this season, sank five birdies against one bogey for a four-under 68.
“Today the weather was so windy, so I played really hard. My strength is accuracy on the fairway and greens, but today I missed a lot of the greens. But my chipping was good and my putting was good,” Shin said.
“My first time playing here in 2008 I won ... [so] I had a lot of confidence on this course,” she said. “This golf course you have to play woods and long irons. I think I’m strong with hybrids and fairway woods, so I think that’s why I play well here.”
Uehara carded the same five birdies against one bogey on the 6,506-yard, par-72 Kashikojima Country Club course.
Defending champion Momoko Ueda hit five birdies against two bogeys to trail them on 69, tied for third with fellow Japanese Maiko Wakabayashi, China’s Feng Shanshan, South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon, Beatriz Recari of Spain and Angela Stanford of the US.
“I have never experienced such strong wind at this course. At first I thought today [was] going to be tough, but after the birdies at fifth and seventh, and the birdie comeback on the ninth after the bogey on eighth ... I managed to keep ... momentum,” Ueda, 26, said.
Choi, the US Open champion this season, had four birdies against one bogey, while Feng, the LPGA champion, hit five birdies against two bogeys.
Choi said she played “really well,” although “there is a lot of wind out there.”
“I think I’m in good position right now after the first round. I just have to get some good rest and I’m really looking forward to the next few days,” Choi said.
Stacy Lewis of the US, hoping to hold on to her top spot in the Player of the Year standings, hit a 71 for a 19th-place tie with 10 other golfers, including local hope Mika Miyazato and Taiwanese world No. 1 Yani Tseng.
“I had some good tee-shots and putts, but just my second shots were not coming along,” Tseng said after the round. “I’m very disappointed with the bogeys on the 15th and 18th. I should made more chances, but I couldn’t. It’s just one of those days. One-under-par is not a bad score, but I could’ve done better.”
Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot an even-par 72, while Teresa Lu carded a three-over 75.
Additional reporting by Staff writer, with CNA