Brit­tany Lang’s five early birdies give her the lead in Alabama LPGA tour­ney

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Brit­tany Lang birdied five of the first seven holes in windy con­di­tions and shot a 7-un­der 65 on Thurs­day to take the first-round lead in the Yoko­hama Tire LPGA Clas­sic.

Added to the U.S. Sol­heim Cup team Mon­day as one of Juli Inkster’s two cap­tain’s picks, Lang had a twostroke lead over Tif­fany Joh, Syd­nee Michaels and Ryann O’Toole.

“It was just one of those days. It was so en­joy­able,” Lang said. “I wasn’t think­ing about a whole lot. I was just su­per com­mit­ted to see­ing my shots. It was so much fun.”

The 30-year-old Texan won the 2012 Man­ulife Fi­nan­cial LPGA Clas­sic in Canada for her lone LPGA Tour ti­tle. She was sec­ond this year in the On­tario event and has three other top-10 fin­ishes.

“I’m in a re­ally nice place right now,” Lang said. “I had one of my bet­ter years ... and the Sol­heim pick’s over with. I’m just in a re­ally com­fort­able place, so I just felt re­ally re­laxed out there.”

Lang birdied Nos.

1, 3-5 and 7 in her morn­ing round on the Sen­a­tor Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Capi­tol Hill com­plex. She birdied Nos. 11-12, dropped strokes on Nos. 13-14 and re­bounded with birdies on Nos. 16-17.

“The birdies on 16 and 17 were pretty big af­ter the bo­geys on 13 and 14,” Lang said. “Not stupid bo­geys, small misses, but I stayed ag­gres­sive, so I was ex­cited with that. Stayed ag­gres­sive and made two bo­geys, but it was re­ally good to birdie 16 and 17.”

O’Toole had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the mid­dle of her morn­ing round.

“It’s been windy all week, so I was ex­pect­ing that,” O’Toole said. “What I no­ticed was the greens were even faster than yesterday or Tues­day. ... It took me five holes to get re­ally think­ing that if you’re above the hole, you just had to tap it. Breaks were break­ing dou­ble of what you saw be­cause of the speed change. So, it took me a lit­tle bit to get used to that.”

Juli­eta Granada, Hyo Joo Kim, Ariya Ju­tanu­garn, Therese Koel- baek and Simin Feng were three strokes back at 68.

Stacy Lewis, the 2012 win­ner, had a 70. Sec­ond last year in Prattville, she’s com­ing off a play­off loss to Ly­dia Ko last week in the Cana­dian Pa­cific Women’s Open.

“The golf course was play­ing re­ally hard early this morn­ing and I didn’t re­ally get any­thing go­ing, then couldn’t get any putts to fall there on the back nine, so kind of a frus­trat­ing day,” Lewis said.

The third-ranked Lewis bo­geyed the par-4 third hole and ral­lied with birdies on Nos. 8-9 and 11.

“The wind was blow­ing early this morn­ing,” Lewis said. “I don’t think I ever hit 4-iron into the third hole be­fore, so I was just hit­ting clubs into holes that I’ve never hit.”

Lexi Thompson, the 2011 win­ner at age 16, opened with a 69.

Cana­dian teen Brooke Hen­der­son had a 71. The 17-year-old Hen­der­son won her first LPGA Tour ti­tle two weeks ago in Port­land, Ore­gon.

Mi Jung Hur, the win­ner last year at a tour­na­ment-record 21-un­der 267, shot a 74.

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