TAIPEI, Taiwan – Top-ranked Inbee Park birdied five of the last seven holes Thursday for an 8-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship.
The South Korean star, playing her first round since regaining the No. 1 spot in the world Monday, was tied with China’s Shanshan Feng after her bogey-free round at Miramar.
“I hit the ball really solid all day and, on the back nine, everything seemed to drop,” Park said. “I can’t remember the last time I putted like this. It’s been a really good putting day, so I’m really happy about that.
“I really concentrated on my putting this week and tried to improve a little bit and I practiced a lot on the greens this week. The hard work is paying off, so I’m really happy.”
Feng eagled the par-5 sixth hole and had six birdies in her bogey-free round.
“I think it’s my putting, because my long game is always good,” Feng saiid. “When my putting is on, I always have a chance to win. But when the putting is not doing well, then I’m just like so so.”
South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, settled for a 66 after playing the first 12 holes in 9 under. She bogeyed the par-3 17th and had a double bogey on the par-5 18th.
“Honestly, 6 under is a good score, but I had a really bad finish,” Ryu said. “So, 6 under is not enough good score to me.”
Taiwan’s Ssu-Chia Cheng, Denmark’s Line Vedel and Japan’s Haru Nomura also shot 66.
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis had a 67, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 68.
Third-ranked Lydia Ko opened with a 69. The New Zealand teenager won the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December at Miramar.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, the winner of the inaugural event in 2011, also shot 69. She won the last of her 15 LPGA Tour titles in March 2012.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, the winner the last two years at Sunrise, had a 70.