Hurst, Kim lead in breakthrough bids

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Vicky Hurst and Song-Hee Kim shared the lead at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship after Thursday’s chilly first round.

Vicky Hurst of the United States and South Korea’s Song-Hee Kim shared the lead at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship after Thursday’s chilly first round.

The duo, who also share the common goal of seeking their maiden LPGA Tour titles, each shot a 4-under 68 at the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon to take a one shot lead over Koreans Na Yeon Choi and Amy Hung in the second of this season’s three LPG Tour events in Asia.

“It was really cold this morning,” said Hurst. “I thought that it was going to be warmer today, but while practicing on the putting green I realised it was really cold. I just tried to keep warm starting out and stay steady because balls aren’t going to be flying as far.”

The two front runners’ top of the leaderboard 68s were both made up with the same number of birdies, five, and a single bogey in the second of three straight LPGA events in Asia.

“I’m still young and will have a lot of chances to win,” Kim said. “I will not be disappointed if I don’t win this tournament. But one thing for sure is I will try to my best.”

Cristie Kerr, the latest Women’s World No 1 golfer, is three shots off the pace after carding a 71 and is tied with World No 4 Suzann Pettersen of Norway and the USA’s still highly-competitive 50-year-old, Juli Inkster.

Tall, long-hitting Korean-American Michelle Wie birdied the last two holes to finish a further shot back on 70 in a group that included last week’s winner of the LPGA Malaysia, Jimin Kang, Australia’s in-form Katherine Hull and American young gun Amanda Blumenhurst.

US Solheim Cup stars Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel posted level-par 72s, and South Korea’s World No 2 Jiyai Shin opened with a 73.

“The golf course was very good,” said Wie. “There were some tricky pins out there today. You have to put yourself in the right places, but it’s a very fun golf course.”

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