Park Sung-Hyun rolled in six straight birdies as she rode a hot putter to an eight-under 63 and a two-shot lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Arkansas Championship on Friday. The Tour rookie ended her birdie run with her only bogey of the day then fashioned three more birdies on the back nine. She maintained the lead despite hitting just eight of 13 fairways. “My play was best with putter today, very good,” Park said.
The opening round was delayed for nearly an hour because of poor weather.
Three players are two shots back of Park, including fellow South Korean Ryu So-Yeon, Mel Reid and Ally McDonald.
Park is one of two rookies in the top four as Reid shot a 65 to post her low round of the season. Reid, who missed the cut in her last three tournaments, birdied five of her first seven holes. A hole-in-one at the par-three 11th moved her to eight under, but she made bogey on two of the final seven holes.
Ryu shot a bogey-free 65 while carding a half dozen birdies. McDonald finished with seven birdies and a bogey. Former winner Stacy Lewis was part of a group that included Juli Inkster, Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, Felicity Johnson and Katherine Kirk at five under.
Defending champion Lydia Ko shot a one-under 70. Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth fired a one-under par 69 to seize a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Troy Merritt after Friday’s second round of the US PGA Travelers Championship.
Sixth-ranked Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion seeking his 10th tour title, stood on eight-under par 132 after 36 holes at TPC River Highlands near Hartford, Connecticut.
Reed opened and closed with birdies in firing a 66 while Merritt shot 68 to stand on 133 with compatriots Wesley Bryan, Daniel Summerhays, Boo Weekley and Chase Seiffert another stroke adrift. Spieth, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-4 12th but pulled his tee shot well left at the par-5 13th and took a penalty stroke on the way to a double bogey.
“I was a little tentative to start,” Spieth said. “I had a double cross off the tee at the par-5, made double, but responded nicely.”
Spieth answered with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th, then birdied the first and third holes, the latter from 35 feet.
“It was nice to see as many of those putts as possible go in to give me some confidence for the weekend,” Spieth said.—AFP