Wie opens with 66, takes 1-shot lead in Singapore

05 March, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Michelle Wie tees off on the 3rd hole during the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions Thursday

It is a performance out of the box from 2014 U.S. Open champion Wie, who has slumped to 179th in the rankings after an extended battle with her form and injury and needed a sponsor's invitation just to get a start this week. The Olympic champion had a 10-under 134 total. Though it's been a while since Wie's been in a position to win, she says that being in the lead and handling the pressure that comes with it isn't the type of thing you forget. Hur shot 67, and Jutanugarn had a 68.

Ko, who has gone 11 events without winning, her longest drought in four years, capped her round with three successive birdies after making a spectacular eagle on the par-five fifth when she smashed a five-wood to within a foot of making an albatross.

Bjork had a 67 to match Jamieson at 10-under 132 at Pretoria Country Club.

Ko's main rival for the world No 1 spot, Ariya Jutanugarn, is tied with the 19-year-old in second place. "I had a lot of putts that almost nearly went in". "I made a clumsy bogey on 17, but it was nice to bounce back with the birdie on the last".

Meanwhile, defending champion Jang Ha Na of South Korea is joint-21st with a two-under 70, while local qualifier Amanda Tan is tied-59th with a four-over 76.

"My ball striking was consistent, but I just could not hole like one putt out there", she said.

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Inbee Park, playing only her second tournament in six months because of a thumb injury, led by a shot overnight. "I have to do this for the rest of the three days".

"But I'm not far back, and obviously at this golf course, if you can drop some putts, there are a few birdies out there".

Wie has worked hard on her game - especially her putting, having abandoned the "table-top" style she had been employing the last season or so for a more traditional style this year - and it is finally starting to pay off for the 27-year-old.

"I think the feeling of it, it comes back. I never took that kind of break in my whole career, so it was just something different", Park said.

Wie, who has not won on the LPGA Tour since 2014 when she claimed her third title, stormed back from a slow start when she bogeyed the third hole to add eight birdies and a bogey for her round of 66.

Ko matched Wie's third-round 58 with seven birdies, four of them on the first five holes, and two bogeys.

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