Christina Kim grabs early lead at LPGA Ochoa Invitational
American Christina Kim, seeking her first LPGA title since 2005, fired a seven-under-par 65 to grab a one-stroke lead after Thursday`s first round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Mexico City: American Christina Kim, seeking her first LPGA title since 2005, fired a seven-under-par 65 to grab a one-stroke lead after Thursday`s first round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
The 30-year-old US standout took a one-stroke lead over Spain`s Azahara Munoz with New Zealand teen Lydia Ko, this season`s LPGA Rookie of the Year, alone in third on 68.
Kim`s bogey-free round included eagles at the par-five second and 17th holes in Mexico City.
Her only two LPGA titles came at the 2004 Longs Drugs Challenge and 2005 Tournament of Champions. She won a Ladies European Tour event, the Sicilian Ladies Italian Open, in 2011.
A closing bogey cost Munoz a share of the lead.
The Spaniard opened with birdies at the first and third holes, took a bogey at the fourth but closed the front nine with a birdie. She ran off three birdies in five holes starting at the par-4 12th and eagled the 17th.
Ko, a 17-year-old South Korean-born Kiwi, has already clinched top newcomer honors with two events remaining this season.
She has won twice this year after two Canadian Women`s Open wins as an amateur pushed the LPGA to allow her onto the tour a year ahead of the usual minimum age of 18.
Ko opened with a bogey but answered with back-to-back birdies on the next two holes and again at the sixth and seventh. She took another bogey at the par-5 11th and closed with back-to-back birdies to stand alone in third.
Thailand`s Pornanong Phatlum and Americans Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller shared fourth on 69.
World number two Park In-Bee of South Korea, trying to overtake US rival Stacy Lewis for the top spot in the rankings, was in a pack of seven on 70 that included defending champion Lexi Thompson.
Lewis was on 76 and without a birdie in her opening round.