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OAHU, United States (AFP) – Lee Mi-Hyang birdied three of her four opening holes en route to a six-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead at the rain-hit Lotte Championship on Wednesday.
She and American Paula Creamer topped a crowded LPGA Tour leaderboard that includes five golfers tied for second at five under.
Lee birdied three of the four par-fives and finished with seven birdies and one bogey in a first round that was delayed for 44 minutes because of heavy rains at the Ko Olina Golf Club course. Play was suspended because of darkness with five players still on the course.
Lee came into the tournament having missed the last two cuts.
“I (had) good rest, and my body is much better than before,’’ she said. “I met with my coach and tried to fix my problem. I have a lot more confidence than before. I played really good today.’’
Creamer had an earlier tee time, emerging from a pack to also shoot a six-under. It was her best round of 2017, and she credits a change in her putting style for her success.
“I played solid. I putted really well,’’ she said. “I switched back to conventional-style putting. I’ve been left-hand-low for the last three years.’’
“I hit the ball really well at the ANA (Inspiration) and Kia (Classic),’’ she added. “I just couldn’t make any putts.
We talked about how many times I won conventional and how many times have I won left-hand-low and the difference was astronomical.’’
Americans Beth Allen and Lizette Sales, South Koreans Jang Su-Yeon and Ji Eun-Hee, and Canadian Alena Sharp are all tied for second at five-under-par.
Ji made just one bogey in her round while Jang shot a bogey free score. Jang finished fifth at this event in 2016.