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Jutanugarn Sets Pace in LPGA Lotte Championship
Ariya Jutanugarn fired an 8-under 64 to take the opening-round lead in the LPGA Lotte Championship. The $1.7 million event teed off Wednesday - with a Saturday finish - at the 6,383-yard Ko Olina Golf Club in Kopolei on the island of Oahu.
The 17-year-old native of Thailand reeled off six birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 6-under 30, then added an eagle on the par-5 14th and a birdie on the next for her fine opening effort, which gave her a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo.
"I have very good front nine, but I just wanted to make more birdies," Jutanugarn told reporters. "My record is 8-under and I want it to be lower. When I had bogey on 10, I thought I wasn't really confident in my putting. So, when I had eagle, I was more confident."
Sharing fourth after 65s are South Korean Hyo Joo Kim and American Danielle Kang. Eight players shot 67s, including Americans Stacy Lewis, Jane Park, Gerina Piller and Jane Rah, South Korean So Yeon Ryo, Spain's Beatriz Recari, Canada's Rebecca Lee-Bentham and Japan's Ai Miyazato.
Miyazato won last year's inaugural tournament with a total of 12-under 276, four strokes lower than Azahara Munoz and Meena Lee.
Pettersen was pleased with her play. "I went out today and tried to be really aggressive," said the Norwegian, who finished tied for third two weeks in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "My dad was so disappointed after the Kraft that I left all the putts short. He's like, 'You got to hit the ball past the hole to make putts.' "
Inbee Park, who supplanted Lewis as the top-ranked player in women's golf with her win in the Kraft Nabisco, carded a 70. Erstwhile No. 1 Yani Tseng had a 71, while local favorite Michelle Wie a 70.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.