SU­PER ROOKIE Park shares lead in In­cheon

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

SEOUL: US Women’s Open cham­pion Park Sung-Hyun 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 LPGA’s $2 mil­lion KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship in In­cheon on Thurs­day.

World num­ber two Park, play­ing in the mar­quee group along­side topranked South Korean com­pa­triot Ryu So-Yeon and num­ber three Lexi Thomp­son, carded six birdies in a bo­gey-free round at the SKY72 Golf and Re­sort, west of Seoul.

Amer­i­can Thomp­son ended the day three strokes back after a 69 while world num­ber one Ryu carded an even­par 72. Aus­tralia’s Lee, mean­while, off­set two bo­geys with eight birdies, while Korean Kim fin­ished her round with five straight birdies.

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

Play­ing in the same group as her clos­est ri­vals did not faze her in the slight­est on Thurs­day, 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,” she 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.”

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

KEB HANA BANK CHAM­PI­ONSHIP SCORES First round (par 72): 66 - Kim Min-Sun (KOR), Min­jee Lee (AUS), Park

Sung-Hyun (KOR) 67 - Ma­rina Alex (USA), Chella Choi (KOR), Cristie Kerr (USA), Park Min-Ji (KOR), Lizette Salas (USA) 68 - An­gel Yin (USA), Kim Ji-Hyun (KOR), Ko Jin

Young (KOR), Ly­dia Ko (NZL) 69 - Bae Seon-Woo (KOR), Mo Mar­tin (USA), Lexi

Thomp­son (USA)

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