Stacy Lewis takes early advantage in Malaysia

World number one Stacy Lewis of the United States shot a 6-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead in the first round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament on Thursday.

Stacy Lewis takes early advantage in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur: World number one Stacy Lewis of the United States shot a 6-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead in the first round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament on Thursday.

Lewis, who went bogey-free, added her sixth birdie of the day on the 16th hole to edge in front of a South Korean pack at the challenging Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

South Koreans Na Yeon Choi, Hee Young Park, Eun-Hee Ji and So Yeon Ryu were tied on 66, just a stroke back.

Several other golfers were a further shot behind, including Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea and last year`s runner-up Shanshan Feng of China.

The $2 million tournament is part of a several-event swing through Asia by the US LPGA.

Last month, Lewis finished second to South Korea`s Hur Mi-Jung in the LPGA Yokohama Tire Classic in Japan, and performed strongly last week at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing.

"Yeah, another week I got off to a good start again," Lewis said after her round Thursday.

"It was kind of one of those rounds that early it was actually kind of shaky and I had to make a few par putts on the first three holes, but really just kind of hung in there and gave myself a lot of birdie looks and was fortunate to make a few."

Last year`s champion Lexi Thompson was 6 strokes off the pace after the American shot an opening-round 71.

Rising youngster Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who is now number-three in the world but is gunning for Lewis`s top ranking, was in the hunt after the 17-year-old finished with a 69.

Scores in brief:

65 - Stacy Lewis (USA)

66 - Na Yeon Choi (KOR), Hee Young Park (KOR), Eun-Hee Ji (KOR), So Yeon Ryu (KOR)

67 - Shanshan Feng (CHN), Mi Hyang Lee (KOR), Jenny Shin (KOR), Amy Yang (KOR), Pornanong Phatlum (THA)

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