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Asians show the way in US Women’s Open

NEW YORK (AFP) – China’s Feng Shanshan fired a bogey-free six-under-par 66 Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead over South Korean Amy Yang early in the opening round of the US Women’s Open.

Sixth-ranked Feng, seeking her second major crown after the 2012 LPGA Championship, had two runs of three consecutive birdies to seize command at the third major championship of the LPGA season.

The event is being staged at US President Donald Trump’s golf resort, Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, with protests possible and the US Golf Association already under fire for failing to move the richest tournament in women’s golf after Trump’s controversial comments about women during his presidential campaign.

When the shotmaking started Thursday, the focus was on capturing a major crown and Feng fared best, starting on the back nine and making birdies on the par-4 11th, 12th and 13th holes.

She followed with another treble birdie run at the par-4 17th and par-5 18th and first holes, then closed her morning round with eight pars.

“I started the round really solidly. I had three birdies in the first four holes,’’ Feng said.

“After that I felt comfortable about everything because my ball striking has been pretty good, but I was struggling a little bit about my putting.

“I made a little bit (of an) adjustment with my coach after I got here on putting. Then I’m rolling the ball into the holes now. I’m really happy about the round, 66. That’s my low score in US Open ever so hopefully I can keep it going.’’

Feng admitted she felt like she could have scored even lower.