So Yeon Ryu shoots 63 to take Swinging Skirts lead
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 22, 2016 11:52 AM
So Yeon Ryu, of South Korea, reacts after missing a birdie putt on the eighth green of the Lake Merced Golf Club during the first round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic golf tournament Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Daly City, Calif. Ryu shot a 9-under-par 63. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — So Yeon Ryu shot a tournament-record 9-under 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
Playing in the first group of the day off the 10th tee, the South Korean player had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch on the back nine and added two more on the front nine at Lake Merced.
"I was kind of lucky to tee it off really early," Ryu said. "I had a really fresh green, no wind. Also San Francisco is really cold in the morning, but this morning it was just perfect temperature.
"I think today just everything was just great. My tee shot was great. I only missed one green today. I shot 17 greens. Putting was really good."
Taiwan's Candie Kung and Japan's Haru Nomura were two strokes back at 65.
Kung opened her afternoon round with bogeys on 10 and 11, then birdied the next two and made seven more in a nine-hole stretch from the 17th to the seventh.
"Two three-putts, hello, what a start," Kung said. "Putting let me down the first two holes and then picked me right up on the last 16 holes. I made a lot of long putts and hit 18 greens today. This course is hard to hit fairways and greens, and I was able to keep it in play and hit all the greens."
Nomura had eight birdies and a bogey. She won the Australian Women's Open in February for her first LPGA Tour title.
"Winning in Australia gave me a lot of confidence," Nomura said. "I still remember how I shot and my putting when I won. So If I play same way I feel I can win again here soon."
China's Xi Yu Lin and the Netherlands' Christel Boeljon shot 67, and two-time defending champion Lydia Ko was at 68 along with Catriona Matthew, Na Yeon Choi and Rachel Rohanna.
Ko already has two victories in California this year, winning the Kia Classic and ANA Inspiration — the first major of the year — in consecutive weeks.
"Course is easy, whatever course she's playing on," the top-ranked Ko joked about Ryu. "Obviously, everything was going right today. For her to shoot a score like that, that's really impressive."
Ryu is winless since the 2014 Canadian Pacific Women's Open. She also won the 2011 U.S. Women Open and 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
"Every tournament, I really want to win" Ryu said. "I think it's a bit too early to discuss about the result. We still have three more days."
Ko got a fashion assist from U.S. Women's Open champion In Gee Chun on the opening hole.
"I had my two bracelets and my hair tie and I was planning on braiding my hair before I played," Ko said. "She was like, 'Oh, doesn't it bother you having stuff on your wrist? I said, 'No, no.' Well, the hair tie was for me to braid it. She was like, 'Do you want me to braid it for you?' I was like, 'Sure. It's going to end up way nicer than how I braid it.' She did good. I told her, 'It's hairstylist In Gee.'"
Chun opened with a 71.
Brooke Henderson also had a 71. The 18-year-old Canadian has seven straight top-10 finishes. She held the previous tournament record, shooting a 65 last year in the second round.
Third-ranked Lexi Thompson and No. 4 Stacy Lewis each shot 72.
Former Stanford student Michelle Wie shot a 73.
Minjee Lee also had a 73. The 19-year-old Australian won the Lotte Championship last week. She also won the U.S. Girls' Junior four years ago at Lake Merced.
DIVVOTS: Hall of Famer Juli Inkster opened with a 74 in her home event. The 55-year-old Inkster will be honored with her own bobblehead by the San Francisco Giants before their game Friday night game against the Miami. ... Ha Na Jang withdrew after 11 holes because of illness. The eight-ranked South Korean player has two victories this season. ... Suzann Pettersen withdrew before the round because of back spasms.