Yoo sets early Blue Bay pace on Hainan
Yoo Sun-young carded a 7-under 65 on Wednesday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Blue Bay LPGA tournament.
Yoo had seven birdies and hit 12 of 14 fairways in a bogey-free round at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club on south China's Hainan Island. Xiang Sui of China had a 66 to hold second spot, one stroke clear of five players at 5 under, including American Lizette Salas.
"Pretty solid overall. I saw a lot of positive things in myself today, so hopefully I can get it going," Yoo, who has two wins on the LPGA Tour, said after her lowest round of the season.
The 30-year-old Seoul native, who has won nearly US$5 million on the US LPGA Tour since 2006, is looking to win her first tournament since the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Xiang fell behind by two strokes with a bogey on the 15th hole, but was able to regain a stroke on the leader with birdies on her last two.
Another South Korean, Park Sung-hyun, the first rookie in LPGA Tour history to earn top spot in the rankings, was in ninth spot at 4-under while world No. 3, China's Feng Shanshan was at 3-under.
"Before I teed off this morning, at the first tee, I received a lot of congratulation texts from friends and family," Park, 24, said after her first round as the top player in the world.
"I was a little bit concerned about going into the first round, I thought I might be nervous going through this round.
"But at the first tee, hitting my first shot, I felt comfortable, and the rest of the round was much more comfortable than I anticipated.
"So it was no problem for me."
Defending champion Minjee Lee of Australia had six birdies, but she struggled to find consistency as she hit five bogeys to finish the round at 71.
American Jessica Korda rebounded after a quadruple-bogey on the par-5 third hole, hitting six birdies to finish at 1 under.