Taiwan’s Teresa Lu and Lee Min were among five players tied at the top of the standings on the first day of the Swinging Skirts invitational charity golf tournament in New Taipei City yesterday.
Lu and Lee, who both shot four-under 68, were tied for top spot with Rui Kitada of Japan, Choi Na-yeon of South Korea and Cristie Kerr of the US at the end of first round.
“Because my caddie kept telling me to stay calm and take it easy, I feel less nervous today than my previous professional game,” Lee said of her last professional tournament in Taiwan last month at a post-event press briefing.
“I also performed much better and gained more confidence after shooting a birdie on the par-five sixth,” Lee, 17, said with a smile.
Lee only turned professional in October.
Asked about her expectations for the event, Lee said she would like to simply focus on each and every swing and putt, adding that “it is more important to focus on myself.”
Lu, 25, also expressed delight about her bogey-free round, with four birdies in the first nine. She said that watching other top players play helped her putt smoothly.
“I have never putted this well before,” she said, adding that she has been practicing putting for the past few weeks.
Unlike the cold, blustery and rainy weather that made scoring extremely difficult last year, the players that also appeared last year praised the sunny, yet windy, conditions yesterday.
“Thank God,” Kerr said about the weather, adding that the conditions were the nicest she had ever known in Taiwan. “I played pretty well today.”
Although the wind was not as strong as it was on Thursday, it was “still significant and the weather condition is always changing,” the 35-year-old said.
Choi, meanwhile, also praised the weather, saying she took advantage of it to shoot birdies at all the four par-five holes.
Expressing confidence, Choi, 25, said that she would like to finish strongly this year and was looking forward to the final two days.
Last year, Choi finished in fourth, eight strokes behind Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, who failed to defend her title this year due to elbow and shoulder injuries.
Kitada, 30, who is visiting Taiwan for the first time, said she was looking forward to playing with other top players today, but was worried about the weather conditions, which are forecast to be worse.
A total of 95 local and overseas golfers are playing in the second Swinging Skirts tournament, a 54-hole competition that ends tomorrow.
The tournament at the Miramar Golf and Country Club in Linkou, New Taipei City, carries a total purse of US$1.01 million this year.