Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Park takes a share of the lead in South Korea

Reuters, SEOUL

US Women’s Open champion Park Sung-hyun yesterday closed with a pair of birdies to join Minjee Lee and Kim Min-sun at the top of the leaderboard on six-under-par after the first round of the US$2 million LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in Incheon, South Korea.

World No. 2 Park, playing in the marquee group alongside top-ranked South Korean compatriot Ryu So-yeon and No. 3 Lexi Thompson, carded six birdies in a bogey-free round at the SKY72 Golf Club west of Seoul.

American Thompson ended the day three strokes back with a 69, while world No. 1 Ryu carded an even-par 72.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Lee offset two bogeys with eight birdies, while South Korean Kim finished her round with five straight birdies.

Park has enjoyed an incredible rookie season in the US and leads Ryu and Thompson on the official money list with almost US$2 million from 18 events.

Playing in the same group as her closest rivals yesterday did not faze her in the slightest, nor did the huge galleries following the trio, despite the chilly weather.

“It is true that this morning was really cold. At one point it did cross my mind that there may not be many spectators today. I was quite surprised when I reached the first hole and saw the size of the crowd,” Park said.

“I can’t speak for the other players from abroad, but I’ve never felt that it’s uncomfortable to have a larger crowd. I think the larger the cheering is more fun for me, so I had a really good time out there today,” she added.

Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, who beat Alison Lee in a sudden-death playoff to win the event last year, finished even-par, with American Lee coming in at two-over-par.

Taiwan’s Chien Pei-yun carded an even-par 72 to finish the first day in a group tied for 40th, which included Kaohsiung-born Candie Kung of the US.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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