Kuala Lumpur, October 11 – Defending champion Na Yeon Choi of South Korea shot a superb six-under-par 65 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s East Course to take a share of the first round lead of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with Australia’s Karrie Webb.
Choi nailed six birdies in a flawless round to open her campaign in spectacular fashion, brandishing the pinpoint iron play that saw her claim the title by one shot over World No. 1 Yani Tseng last year.
“I think I put extra pressure on myself, a lot of people expect me to win again this year – but I like that tension. That makes me a little nervous, a little more pressured, but I like that feeling. I think all players need that little tension. The main thing is, I know I have the ability to play well on this course because I played well here last year. So I’m just going to be positive, though there’s pressure,” said Choi, who earlier this year won her sixth LPGA title and first Major in the US Women’s Open.
Webb meanwhile also carded six birdies to keep her hopes alive of winning her first title of the year. “The thing that I was most proud of about the round was that I just settled in. I knew I had been swinging it well, so I didn’t want to try to force anything to happen,” said the seven-time Major winner.
17-year-old Chinese Taipei amateur Min Lee stunned the field by carding a 66 to lie in joint third spot with Japan’s Mika Miyazato and Korea’s Sun Young Yoo, one shot ahead of two more Koreans, Hee Young Park and Hee-Won Han.
The best Malaysians after round one were Ainil Johani Bakar and amateur Aretha Pan Herng, who carded matching 73s to lie in 54th spot. The country’s top professional, Jean Chua, shot 75 while junior Sarfina Vinota signed in an 81.
Lighting activity forced a suspension of play at 1.33pm, but the threat eventually passed and players were able to resume play at 4.20pm and complete their rounds.
Round I Leading Scores
65 – Na Yeon Choi, Karrie Webb
66 – Sun Young Yoo, Mika Miyazato, Min Lee
67 – Hee-Won Han, Hee Young Park
68 – Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Momoko Ueda, Jessica Korda, So Yeon Ryu, Catriona Matthew, Lizette Salas