Thai teen takes lead at Kapolei


Associated Press

KAPOLEI, Oahu — Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn shot an 8-under 64 on Wednesday at Ko Olina to take a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo after the first round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.

The 17-year-old Jutanugarn played the front nine in 6-under 30 in her afternoon round, dropped a stroke on the par-4 10th with her lone bogey, then made a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th and birdied the par-4 15th. She matched the tournament record in second-year event after only getting into the field Sunday when she won a qualifier.

“I have very good front nine, but I just wanted to make more birdies,” Jutanugarn said. “My record is 8 under and I want it to be lower. When I had bogey on 10, I thought I wasn’t really confident in my putting. So, when I had eagle, I was more confident.”

Jutanugarn was in position to win the LPGA Thailand in February, only to collapse on the final hole to hand Inbee Park the title. Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-stroke lead, missing out on a playoff when she lipped out a 3-foot putt. She rebounded three weeks ago in Morocco, winning the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup for her first professional title.

“I was very confident today,” she said.

Pettersen had nine birdies and two bogeys in her morning round. The Norwegian is a 10-time winner on the LPGA Tour and won an LET event this year in China.

“I went out today and tried to be really aggressive,” said Pettersen, coming off a third-place tie two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. “My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He’s like, ‘You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.’”

Pettersen played in a pair of unreleased Nike shoes that she’s been testing back home. She got the green light to wear them this week.

“It’s a female version of Tiger Woods’ shoes,” Pettersen said. “I must say I feel the greens a lot better because the foot is sitting a lot better in the shoe.”

Seo, the 2010 Kia Classic winner, had a bogey-free round in the afternoon.

Hyo Joo Kim, the 17-year-old South Korean player who played in a group with Jutanugarn and 15-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, matched Danielle Kang with a 66.

Ko had a 71. She won the Canadian Open in August to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner at 15 years, 4 months, 2 days. The South Korea-born Ko has two other pro victories, the New South Wales Open last year and New Zealand Women’s Open this year, and won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last season.

“It was very fun because everybody is young,” Jutanugarn said. “We’re friends. I’ve played with them before.”

Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, the winner of consecutive events this year in Singapore and Phoenix, was three strokes back at 67 along with defending champion Ai Miyazato, Beatriz Recari, So Yeon Ryu, Jane Park, Rebecca Lee-Bentram, Jane Rah and Gerina Piller.

Lewis missed the cut last year, the last time she has failed to advance to weekend play.

“I learned a lot from this tournament last year,” Lewis said. “I think you learn more from failures than you do from success.”

Recari, playing the back nine first in a group with Pettersen and Angela Stanford, Recari birdied four of the first six holes.

“We teed off at 7:50 and it was already blowing pretty hard, especially on the back nine,” the Spaniard said. “Those holes are really open to the ocean. So, I think it was a good challenge out there.

She enjoyed playing alongside Pettersen.

“It’s always great to play with her because she’s so competitive,” Recari said. “It got to the point where we were feeding off each other because we were making birdie, birdie. We were just hitting really good shots into the pin and making some putts.”

Recari won the Kia Classic last month for her second LPGA Tour victory.

“The thing is, when you win, you want to keep winning,” Recari said. “I didn’t feel like I just wanted to sit back and relax and just kind of cruise. Obviously, you want to put yourself in that position again and, hopefully, get more trophies.”

Lee-Bentram opened with nine straight pars, then birdied five of the next seven holes in her bogey-free round.

“I just told myself to be patient,” Lee-Bentram said. “Putts weren’t going in on the front nine, but I was making pars. I knew if I kept making pars the birdies would come.”

Jutanugarn’s older sister, Moriya, had a 69.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, the Kraft Nabisco winner, was in a group at 70 that included local favorite Michelle Wie (70) and Natalie Gulbis, playing her second tournament following a bout with malaria. Third-ranked Yani Tseng, winless in more than year, had a 71.

The players, caddies, and staff wore red ribbons to honor victims from the Boston Marathon bombings.

At Ko Olina Golf Club Course

Kapolei, Oahu

Purse: $1.7 million

Yardage: 6,383; Par: 72 (36-36)

First Round

a-denotes amateur

Ariya Jutanugarn 30-34—64

Suzann Pettersen 31-34—65

Hee Kyung Seo 33-32—65

Danielle Kang 34-32—66

Hyo Joo Kim 32-34—66

Rebecca Lee-Bentham 36-31—67

Stacy Lewis 33-34—67

Ai Miyazato 32-35—67

Jane Park 33-34—67

Gerina Piller 34-33—67

Jane Rah 32-35—67

Beatriz Recari 35-32—67

So Yeon Ryu 33-34—67

Julia Boland 33-35—68

Haeji Kang 33-35—68

Austin Ernst 35-34—69

Mina Harigae 34-35—69

Caroline Hedwall 36-33—69

Vicky Hurst 35-34—69

Moriya Jutanugarn 35-34—69

Brittany Lang 32-37—69

Mi Hyang Lee 36-33—69

Hee Young Park 34-35—69

Lizette Salas 33-36—69

Mariajo Uribe 34-35—69

Karrie Webb 35-34—69

Danah Bordner 36-34—70

Nicole Castrale 36-34—70

Chella Choi 34-36—70

Na Yeon Choi 35-35—70

Shanshan Feng 33-37—70

Natalie Gulbis 33-37—70

Nicole Hage 36-34—70

Hee-Won Han 35-35—70

Katherine Hull-Kirk 35-35—70

Karine Icher 34-36—70

Eun-Hee Ji 33-37—70

Sara Maude Juneau 36-34—70

Christina Kim 35-35—70

I.K. Kim 34-36—70

Seon Hwa Lee 35-35—70

Mo Martin 35-35—70

Lisa McCloskey 32-38—70

Se Ri Pak 34-36—70

Inbee Park 35-35—70

Pornanong Phatlum 34-36—70

Morgan Pressel 34-36—70

Jennifer Rosales 36-34—70

Stephanie Sherlock 36-34—70

Michelle Wie 36-34—70

Sun Young Yoo 34-36—70

Karlin Beck 40-31—71

Christel Boeljon 39-32—71

Irene Cho 35-36—71

Carlota Ciganda 34-37—71

Paula Creamer 37-34—71

Laura Davies 34-37—71

Laura Diaz 36-35—71

Moira Dunn 35-36—71

Veronica Felibert 34-37—71

Julieta Granada 37-34—71

Cristie Kerr 34-37—71

a-Lydia Ko 35-36—71

Maude-Aimee Leblanc 35-36—71

Pernilla Lindberg 35-36—71

Caroline Masson 35-36—71

Kristy McPherson 35-36—71

Mika Miyazato 35-36—71

Belen Mozo 36-35—71

Anna Nordqvist 36-35—71

Stacy Prammanasudh 35-36—71

Nicole Smith 35-36—71

Angela Stanford 37-34—71

Yani Tseng 36-35—71

Alison Walshe 35-36—71

Lindsey Wright 36-35—71

Heather Bowie Young 33-38—71

Amanda Blumenherst 37-35—72

Jodi Ewart Shadoff 35-37—72

Amy Hung 37-35—72

Jeong Jang 37-35—72

Felicity Johnson 37-35—72

Jessica Korda 36-36—72

Candie Kung 35-37—72

Meena Lee 36-36—72

Rye-Jung Lee 35-37—72

Brittany Lincicome 35-37—72

Paola Moreno 35-37—72

Kayla Mortellaro 38-34—72

Azahara Munoz 35-37—72

Brooke Pancake 35-37—72

Giulia Sergas 36-36—72

Alena Sharp 34-38—72

Karin Sjodin 37-35—72

Jennifer Song 35-37—72

Marina Stuetz 34-38—72

Dori Carter 37-36—73

Sandra Gal 36-37—73

Sophie Gustafson 35-38—73

Juli Inkster 36-37—73

Nicole Jeray 36-37—73

Taylore Karle 34-39—73

Char Young Kim 38-35—73

Mindy Kim 35-38—73

Victoria Elizabeth 36-37—73

Stephanie Kono 38-35—73

Cindy LaCrosse 36-37—73

Jennie Lee 37-36—73

Paige Mackenzie 37-36—73

Ryann O’Toole 36-37—73

Jin Young Pak 35-38—73

Jessica Shepley 37-36—73

Thidapa Suwannapura 36-37—73

Kris Tamulis 35-38—73

Momoko Ueda 37-36—73

Meaghan Francella 37-37—74

Jennifer Gleason 36-38—74

Tiffany Joh 35-39—74

Sarah Kemp 37-37—74

Song-Hee Kim 37-37—74

Becky Morgan 36-38—74

Ji Young Oh 37-37—74

Jenny Shin 38-36—74

Karen Stupples 37-37—74

Victoria Tanco 36-38—74

Wendy Ward 38-36—74

Sandra Changkija 34-41—75

Esther Choe 38-37—75

Jacqui Concolino 36-39—75

Lauren Doughtie 39-36—75

Katie Futcher 37-38—75

Daniela Iacobelli 39-36—75

Sydnee Michaels 40-35—75

Sarah Jane Smith 37-38—75

Kim Welch 38-37—75

Pat Hurst 39-37—76

Hye-Jin Jung 36-40—76

Reilley Rankin 38-38—76

Mi Jung Hur 37-40—77

Dewi Claire Schreefel 40-37—77

Lorie Kane 36-42—78

Jee Young Lee 40-38—78

Hannah Yun 38-41—79

Kathleen Ekey 39-41—80

 

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