South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee leads LPGA Taiwan Championship
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) Ji Eun-hee shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship.
The 29-year-old South Korean player birdied five of her final seven holes at Miramar. She holed two chips and had only 23 putts.
”I didn’t fight with the wind. I was just using the wind a lot,” Ji said. ”My ball flight wasn’t too much lower today. I just see my ball line and I just look at my shot, my image was really good.”
Ji won the 2008 LPGA Championship and 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, both major tournaments, for her lone LPGA Tour titles.
China’s Lin Xi-yu was second.
”My putter helped me a lot today,” Lin said. ”I’m really confident with my putting now, which has really helped me with the other parts of the game.”
American Morgan Pressel, England’s Charley Hull, Germany’s Sandra Gal and South Korea’s Sun Young Yoo shot 68. Pressel birdied the final two holes, holing a 25-footer on the par-5 18th.
”I didn’t put myself in a whole lot of trouble,” Pressel said. ”I was a little upset with my one bogey, because it was just a club error, a mistake, not a poor shot or anything like that. It was a tough wind to judge which clubs to hit on certain holes, and some of the holes are cross-wind and that makes it challenging – slightly hurting, slightly helping.”
Second-ranked Lydia Ko topped the group at 69.
”I was hitting the ball pretty well, so that made it a whole lot easier to play out there,” Ko said. ”If you’re striking the ball well, you can kind of trust your ball flight and kind of use the wind from there. It wasn’t easy, especially the last couple holes.”
The 18-year-old New Zealander has four LPGA Tour victories this year. She won the 2013 Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters at Miramar for her first victory as a professional.
Americans Brittany Lincicome and Lizette Salas also shot 69.
Taiwanese star Yani Tseng had a 72. She won the inaugural event in 2011 at Sunrise.
Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda, the winner two weeks ago in Malaysia, shot 73.
Third-ranked Stacy Lewis had a 77, her worst score since a 78 in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open. She was second last year at Miramar behind Inbee Park.
The top-ranked Park is skipping her title defense to play in the Korea LPGA’s KB Financial Star Championship, where she was tied for first-round lead Thursday.
The tournament is third in the five-event Asian Swing. The Blue Bay LPGA is next week in China, followed by the Japan Classic.