US journeywoman Tiffany Joh on Thursday had one eye on the Ladies Scottish Open title and one on a spot of weekend surfing after taking the lead with a majestic first-round nine-under 62.
The 31-year-old — who has yet to record a win on the LPGA Tour — took to the sun-baked course, holing nine birdies at the Gullane Golf Club, where South African Brandon Stone shot a men’s course-record 60 less than two weeks ago.
Joh, who was diagnosed with melanoma in January last year and had the cancerous area on her head removed, returning to the tour just four months later, had a four-shot lead over a trio of South Koreans — Jenny Shin, Amy Yang and reigning Women’s British Open champion Kim In-kyung.
However, Joh, who is known as one of the jokers on the tour, appeared to have her eyes set on an alternative form of entertainment over the weekend, should she be able to fit it in — surfing the waves off the east coast.
“I’ve been doing a little research and I heard that there’s a place called Pease Bay that might be pretty decent,” the world No. 177 told reporters.
“I have a little magic sea app and it tells me the nearest surf breaks and if there’s any surf forecasted,” Joh said. “Today and tomorrow it didn’t look like there was anything very good, but it looked like this weekend there might be a little swell in the water.”
Kim said she and her fellow South Koreans might not have the habit of playing links golf, but they have taken to it with alacrity.
“I mean, we play in very windy conditions and we play in rainy conditions [in South Korea] and everything, but this is very different,” the 30-year-old said. “I think we’re just kind of looking at the view and like we’ve never seen it before so it’s exciting.”
After the men let down their Scottish fans last weekend at The Open Championship with just amateur Sam Locke making the cut, the women are aiming not to disappoint in equal fashion.
Kelsey MacDonald rose to the challenge admirably with a 67, while compatriot Catriona Matthew — who lives nearby — was another two shots back and had the rare privilege of her two daughters being able to watch her play in person.
Taiwan’s Chien Pei-yun carded a one-under 70 for a share of 29th, while Hsu Wei-ling was even-par in a group sharing 43rd.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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