Fri, Feb 22, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Ji Eun-hee takes two-shot first-round Thailand lead


Ji Eun-hee yesterday topped a tight leaderboard after a near-flawless performance on day one of the Honda LPGA Thailand, as top-ranked home favorite Ariya Jutanugarn was forced to play catch-up.

South Korea’s Ji sank a total of 10 birdies to card a nine-under 63 for a two-shot lead, despite an early bogey.

Australia’s world No. 7 Minjee Lee, American Danielle Kang and South Korean Jenny Shin were close behind with 65s.

The US$1.6 million LPGA-sanctioned tournament is being held at the par-72 Siam Country Club in Pattaya.

“I hit it really great today,” Ji said in a TV interview, adding that tweaks to her swing and putting style have boosted her confidence.

Ji, ranked world No. 25, is gunning for her second title of the year after triumphing in the Sentry Tournament of Champions last month.

However, the early victory means the “pressure” is off, she said.

Thai world No. 1 Ariya was five shots off the lead with a four-under 68. In a topsy-turvy outing, she finished with six birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and a double-bogey on the penultimate hole.

Ariya is also coming off a lackluster Australian Open, finishing 15 shots adrift of winner Nelly Korda.

American Jessica Korda won last year’s tournament in Thailand, but is not competing this year due to an injury.

Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling carded a four-over 76 to finish the round second to last in 69th place.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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