Sec­ond time’s a charm for Park

Korean takes Evian lead af­ter Round 1 was washed out

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - GRA­HAM DUNBAR

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE A new day, a fresh start to the fi­nal women’s ma­jor of the sea­son and it seemed like a new Sung Hyun Park showed up Friday.

Seiz­ing a sec­ond chance to play the first round at the Evian Cham­pi­onship, Park fired an 8-un­der 63 to lead by two shots over Moriya Ju­tanu­garn of Thai­land.

That meant a 14-shot turn­around in for­tunes for the No. 3-ranked South Korean.

She had been 6 over through just five holes in the rain and wind on Thurs­day morn­ing be­fore play was aban­doned and all scores wiped from the record, mak­ing it a 54-hole event to be com­pleted Sun­day.

Park, the U.S. Women’s Open cham­pion, re­grouped and had seven birdies and an ea­gle.

“I for­got about yes­ter­day and just fo­cused on my play to­day,” Park said through a trans­la­tor, ac­knowl­edg­ing she was “sur­prised” that the LPGA scrapped Thurs­day’s play.

Tied for third, three shots back, Aus­tralia’s Kather­ine Kirk and Anna Nordqvist of Swe­den both carded a 66. Marina Alex and Jes­sica Korda of the United States and Women’s Bri­tish Open win­ner In-Kyung Kim were a fur­ther shot back at 4 un­der.

Brooke Hen­der­son of Smiths Falls, Ont., opened with a 74, while Brit­tany Marc­hand of Orangeville, Ont., strug­gled to a 78.

Park played in a stel­lar group with top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (75), her fel­low South Korean, and world No. 2 Lexi Thomp­son (70) of the U.S.

Ryu suf­fered a six-shot swing, hav­ing been 2 un­der and shar­ing the lead with Korda on Thurs­day when play stopped.

Kirk, play­ing in the first group on the course for a sec­ond straight day, said the weather just be­fore the sus­pen­sion Thurs­day had been “the worst con­di­tions I have ever seen.”

Ju­tanu­garn and Nordqvist were in the late-start­ing groups and never had to en­dure the 70-km/h gusts and driv­ing rain one day ear­lier.

An­other player to seize their sec­ond chance in cool sun­shine Friday was Ai Miyazato of Ja­pan, play­ing her fi­nal event be­fore re­tir­ing.

Miyazato, the 2009 and 2011 Evian win­ner be­fore it had ma­jor sta­tus, was in a clus­ter of play­ers at 3 un­der, trail­ing Park by five, in­clud­ing Sophia Schu­bert, the U.S. Women’s Am­a­teur cham­pion.

“Right now, noth­ing to lose and no fear and just feel joy of my game and that’s def­i­nitely help­ing,” said the 32-year-old Miyazato, who had a 3-over start on Thurs­day.

Ly­dia Ko, the for­mer No. 1 from New Zealand and 2015 win­ner here, also shot a 3-un­der 68 on the scenic course look­ing across Lake Geneva to Switzer­land.

English vet­eran Laura Davies, who won the last of her four ma­jors 21 years ago, shot a 2-un­der 69 that in­cluded six birdies and four bo­geys.

One year ago, Park also shot an open­ing-round 63 to lead a tour­na­ment that com­pa­triot In Gee Chun went on to win at 21 un­der and set a men’s and women’s ma­jor record.

On Friday, Chun carded a 70, seven shots back.

Sung Hyun Park

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