In-Gee, Ariya among early pace-set­ters

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PHOENIX: Ma­jor cham­pi­onship win­ners Chun In-Gee of South Korea and Thai­land’s Ariya Ju­tanu­garn shared the lead with three oth­ers atop a crowded first round leader­board at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Thurs­day.

Ariya, who won the 2016 Bri­tish Women’s Open, and 2015 US Women’s Open champ In-Gee both shot eight-un­der 64 for a five-way tie for first with Amer­i­cans Katie Bur­nett, San­dra Changk­ija and Stacy Lewis.

The 21-year-old Ariya de­liv­ered a bo­gey-free round that was high­lighted by an ea­gle on the par-five 15th on the Desert Ridge Course.

“I feel pretty good be­cause I tried to work on my com­mit­ment to­day and it’s came out pretty good,” said Ariya. “I missed a few putts, but I made two pretty long ones.”

In-Gee, 22, has two ma­jors on her re­sume as she also won the Evian Cham­pi­onship last year. She had nine birdies, in­clud­ing four in a row bridg­ing the front and back nine.

The LPGA Tour play­ers had to bat­tle sear­ing heat all day with tem­per­a­tures reach­ing 32 Cel­sius.

Stacy played with Ariya. She had an eye-pop­ping front nine that was capped by a 136-yard hole-out ea­gle at the par four ninth.

“Nine was awe­some,” said Stacy, an 11-time win­ner on the LPGA tour. “The nine-iron was per­fect in the air. It was nice to see it go in.

“If you tell me at the be­gin­ning of the day I would shoot eight un­der, and I’ll take it any time.”

Michelle Wie, hop­ing her game has been re­vi­talised, shot a seven-un­der 65, to tie with Vicky Hurst, Julie Inkster, Jane Park and Sher­man San­ti­wi­watthanaphong.

World No 1 Ly­dia Ko shot fou­run­der. She also as­sisted play­ing part­ner Kim Sei-Young, who was stung on her right hand by a bee.

“After she hit her sec­ond shot on the 11th hole, she said ‘Have you been stung by a bee be­fore?’” said Ly­dia.

De­fend­ing cham­pion SeiYoung was then treated by med­i­cal per­son­nel be­fore restart­ing her round.

De­spite the bee sting, Sei-Young fired a five-un­der 67.

“Sixty seven with a bee-sting is very im­pres­sive,” Ly­dia said. AFP

Sixty seven with a beesting is very im­pres­sive.”

LY­DIA KO

World No 1

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