Kim Hyo Joo takes early edge over Ko and Kerr to lead at Bri­tish Open

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY EL­SPETH BURN­SIDE

South Korea’s Kim Hyo Joo pro­duced the shot and the round of the day to lead the Women’s Bri­tish Open by a shot from Ly­dia Ko and Cristie Kerr at sun­bathed Turn­berry on Thurs­day.

Kim took ad­van­tage of the fa­vor­able weather to post a seven un­der par 65 and raise her hopes of adding a sec­ond ma­jor to her vic­tory in the Evian Cham­pi­onship in France last Septem­ber.

At Evian, the 20-year-old shot a ten un­der par 61 in the first round — the joint low­est round in ma­jor cham­pi­onship history — and she again proved to be an open­ing day spe­cial­ist with a flaw­less round of five birdies and an ea­gle.

The ea­gle came at the 449 yard 14th where she hit a sec­ond shot to in­side a foot.

“I al­most made an al­ba­tross,” said a de­lighted Kim, who has won six times on the Korean LPGA Tour and wasn’t even a mem­ber of the LPGA when she won the Evian ti­tle.

New Zealand’s Ko set her alarm for 3.30 a.m. to meet her 6.40 a.m. tee time — she ad­mit­ted she pushed the snooze but­ton a few times — but was wide awake by the time she teed off.

In a fast start, she birdied four holes in a row from the sec­ond and added oth­ers at the sev­enth, 10th and 14th. Her only er­ror was a bunkered tee shot and a four at the short sixth.

Ranked No.1 in the world at the start of the year, 18-year-old Ko has two more chances — this week and the Evian Cham­pi­onship in Septem­ber — to outdo Mor­gan Pres­sel and be­come the youngest ever win­ner of a women’s ma­jor.

The Amer­i­can won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Cham­pi­onship when she was two months short of her 19th birth­day.

“I don’t think too much about records,” con­fessed the Kiwi who has al­ready said she will re­tire from golf at the age of 30.

“But my goal is to win one ma­jor in my ca­reer.

“This was my low­est round in a ma­jor so it was a nice solid start. I tried to take ad­van­tage of the good weather and the par fives.”

Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open cham­pion, ea­gled the long third by hit­ting her five iron sec­ond shot to 22 feet and mak­ing the putt and she also tagged seven birdies into her round to off­set the three bo­geys.

Run­ner-up to Amer­i­can Sherri Sten­hauer at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in 2006, 37-year-old Kerr is keen to add a sec­ond ma­jor.

“But I’ll just be tak­ing it day by day,” she in­sisted. “To­day was lucky. The weather was spec­tac­u­lar.”

Hov­er­ing around on two un­der par are a few sea­soned cam­paign­ers.

World No .1 Park In­bee was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed with her 69 — “I wasn’t in com­plete con­trol of my ball strik­ing” — while 2007 cham­pion Stacy Lewis was on 70.

Odd­est round of the day be­longed to Paula Creamer.

Out in 40 with an eight at the fifth — she took three to es­cape from a bunker — she came home in 31.

“I was two dif­fer­ent play­ers,” said the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open cham­pion.

The open­ing day of the tourne­ment also saw the Turn­berry course owner, and 2016 U. S. pres­i­den­tial hope­ful, Don­ald Trump make a spec­tac­u­lar en­trance.

The 69- year- old ar­rived on his pri­vate he­li­copter, sport­ing a cap em­bla­zoned with the slo­gan “Make Amer­ica Great Again.”

Trump showed up de­spite be­com­ing em­broiled in a con­tro­versy with golf author­i­ties over com­ments he made about Mex­i­cans.

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