Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Lee, Creamer share lead at Lotte Championship

AFP, OAHU, Hawaii

Taiwan’s Cheng Ssu-chia tees off on the eighth hole during the first round of the LPGA Lotte Championship in Oahu, Hawaii, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Lee Mi-hyang birdied three of her four opening holes en route to a six-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead at the rain-hit Lotte Championship in Oahu, Hawaii, on Wednesday.

She and American Paula Creamer topped a crowded LPGA Tour leaderboard that included five golfers tied for second at five-under.

Lee birdied three of the four par-fives and finished with seven birdies and one bogey in a first round that was delayed for 44 minutes because of heavy rain at the Ko Olina Golf Club. Play was suspended because of darkness with five players still on the course.

Lee came into the tournament having missed the past two cuts.

“I [had] good rest and my body is much better than before,” Lee said. “I met with my coach and tried to fix my problem. I have a lot more confidence than before. I played really good today.”

Creamer had an earlier tee time, emerging from a pack to also shoot a six-under. It was her best round of the year and she credits a change in her putting style for her success.

“I played solid. I putted really well,” she said. “I switched back to conventional-style putting. I’ve been left-hand-low for the last three years. I hit the ball really well at the ANA [Inspiration] and Kia [Classic]. I just couldn’t make any putts. We talked about how many times I won conventional and how many times have I won left-hand-low, and the difference was astronomical.”

Americans Beth Allen and Lizette Sales, South Koreans Jang Su-yeon and Ji Eun-hee, and Canadian Alena Sharp were all tied for second at five-under.

Ji made just one bogey in her round, while Jang shot a bogey-free score. Jang finished fifth in Oahu last year.

“It’s good to come back to a place I know,” Jang said. “Although I only played 18 holes this year in practice, as I was playing the golf course memories are coming back to me and I have a lot of good memories of the golf course.”

Chien Pei-yun was in a big group of players on two-under, while fellow Taiwanese Min Lee was another shot further back.

Hsu Wei-ling was tied for 86th place on one-over, while fellow Taiwanese Cheng Ssu-chia was tied for 106th place a shot further back.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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