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Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 6:38:00 PM
Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 6:42:03 PM
by s. ramaguru, ashreena pillai, AND james tang
Korean Lee Ilhee got off to a flying start at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with seven birdies to finish on a seven-under 64.
KUALA LUMPUR: The usual South Korean heavyweights may have faltered but one of their compatriots – Lee Ilhee – displayed sizzling form to keep their flag flying in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with a one-stroke lead in the opening round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Korean, ranked world No. 39, fired seven birdies en route to equalling the East Course record of a seven-under 64 set by Suzann Pettersen at the same course last year.
American Brittany Lang could have joined Ilhee at the top if not for a bogey in the final (ninth) hole for a six-under 65.
Four players are tied on third place after shooting a five-under 66 – Spain’s Beatriz Recari, American Paula Creamer, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and South Korean Ji Eun-hee.
World No. 2 Pettersen of Norway stayed in touch with the leaders as she is bunched with seven others on four-under 67. The others are China’s Feng Shanshan, Americans Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson and Alison Walshe, South Korean I.K. Kim and Germany’s Caroline Masson.
Defending champion and world No. 1 Park In-bee finished tied in 28th spot with 10 others after posting a one-under-70 – to be six strokes behind Ilhee.
Choi Na-yeon, the 2011 winner, is tied on 64th with four others – Japan’s Chie Arimura, American Jacqui Concolino, Filipina Jennifer Rosales and Dewi Claire Schreefel of Holland.
Ilhee, who has one career win thus far, chalked up three birdies on the front nine and another four on the back nine to set the early pace.
Her birdies came in the first, seventh, ninth, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th holes.
“Everything was good today. The putter was good, the driver was good and the six-iron was good. My goal was three-under every day this week, so I feel like I’m okay for the next couple days, I think. So, yeah, it’s okay. It’s fun,” said Ilhee, who won her first ever career title in May when she lifted the Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA title.
She finished joint 16th in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia last year.
Lang, who also has one career win so far, started off strongly on the back nine as she reeled off four birdies in the opening four holes after teeing off from the 10th hole.
She also birdied the 15th and 16th holes for a six-under in the opening nine.
She had another birdie on the first hole in the return journey but bogeyed the last hole.
“I played quite well today and the greens were good. The weather here is unpredictable as we have played in conditions that have been wet, dry and also under the lights,” said world No. 56 Lang, whose maiden career title came at last year’s Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
“Today it was okay and I was hitting the fairways quite well. My putts were also good. Sure, that bogey was bad but I hope to maintain my form over the next three days.
“It was great ... I love this event. Sime Darby is a great host. I like Malaysia ... the people are so nice, so I always have a good attitude coming here.
“I did a really good job. I’ve been swinging at it good but haven’t made too many putts lately. So, I just tried to commit to my lines today and really got off to a hot start. I felt really comfortable out there.”
Tags / Keywords:
golf, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, LPGA, Malaysia, Lee Ilhee, Brittany Lang
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