3 share lead in LPGA Hana

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS -

Sung Hyun Park birdied her last two holes for a 6-un­der 66 and a share of the lead in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship as the South Korean bol­stered her bid to win LPGA rookie of the year and player of the year.

Park was tied for the first-round lead with Min-Sun Kim and Min­jee Lee.

Cristie Kerr, com­ing off a vic­tory last week in France, was among those at 67.

Park, who won the U.S. Women’s Open this year for her first ma­jor and is No. 2 in the world, was play­ing Thurs­day in the fea­tured group at Sky 72 Golf & Re­sort com­pris­ing the top three play­ers in the world rank­ing. The top-ranked So Yeon Ryu opened with a 72, while Lexi Thomp­son had a 69.

“I am off to a re­ally good start,” Park said. “I’m feel­ing re­ally good. My only hope at this point is that I main­tain this. My putting was re­ally strong to­day, es­pe­cially I was hol­ing a lot of my mid-range putts. So I’m quite sat­is­fied with that.”

The 24-year-old Park won six times last year on the Korean LPGA. In her first sea­son on the Amer­i­can tour, she al­ready has won the U.S. Women’s Open and the Cana­dian Women’s Open. She leads the LPGA money list and is No. 3 on the points list of player of the year be­hind Ryu and Thomp­son.

Even on a cool, over­cast day, Park played be­fore a large gallery and fed off the en­ergy.

“At one point, it did cross my mind that there may not be many spec­ta­tors to­day,” she said. “I was quite sur­prised when I reached the first hole and saw the size of the crowd.” /

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