US duo upstages Koreans in Korea

Meaghan Francella and Anna Grzebien have upstaged the Koreans in Korea on day one at the Hana Bank – Kolon Champs.

Meaghan Francella and Anna Grzebien both fired six-under 66s today to share a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Hana Bank – Kolon Championship in Korea.
It’s a little ironic that the two middle-of-the-road American golfers should overshadow the newly dominant Koreans on their own doorstep in one of the few LPGA Tour events not played in the US, but that was the case today (Friday).
Three Koreans, Jiyai Shin, Jimin Kang and Bo Kyung are on their heels, though, just one just one stroke back on 67 in a six-way tie with this year’s top Brit, Catriona Matthew of Scotland, and Americans Vicky and Pat Hurst
And this on a day when 44 of the 71 players broke par on the Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf Club.
Mexico’s world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa could only manage an even-par 72 that left her trailing way behind the leaders in 45th place. Ochoa having carded a bogey on the third and closed with a birdie on the par-five 18th.
Francella, in the meantime, played the back nine first on Friday and posted a lone birdie on the 15th to go with eight pars on her opening nine.
She then moved to two-under with a birdie on the first before surging away to the top of the leaderboard with four consecutive birdies from the fourth.
“I didn’t hit the ball that great,” Francella admitted. “I was finding the left rough with my tee shot, so I scrambled a little bit on the front, and shot one-under. Then I just kind of clicked on the back, and I was able to shoot five-under. Overall, I putted really well, so that saved me today.”
Grzebien got away fast with a birdie on the first, picked up her next birdie at the sixth then birdied three of the first five holes on the back nine to move to five-under before closing with a birdie at the last.
“I was just steady all day,” said 24-year-old Grzebien said. “Obviously, if you make no bogeys, then you’re just kind of playing the course right. I was conservative when I needed to be, and being aggressive on some of the pin placements allowed me to do that. I just felt confident with the putter. We got off to a good start, so I just kind of kept the early momentum going, which was nice.”
Defending champion Candie Kung stumbled to a four-over 76, which left her tied for 68th in the 71-player field.
ALL THE FIRST ROUND SCORES (Kor unless stated, par 72):
66 Meaghan Francella (USA), Anna Grzebien (USA)
67 Vicky Hurst (USA), Jiyai Shin, Jimin Kang, Catriona Matthew, Bo kyung Kim, Pat Hurst (USA)
68 Na Yeon Choi, Maria Hjorth (Swe)
69 Yani Tseng (Tai), Meena Lee, Hee-Won Han, Song-Hee Kim, Christina Kim (USA)
70 Juli Inkster (USA), Amy Yang (USA), Cristie Kerr (USA), Hee Kyung Seo, Inbee Park, Jee Young Lee, Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Seon Hwa Lee, Soo-Yun Kang, Se Ri Pak, Lindsey Wright (Aus), Ran Hong, Morgan Pressel (USA), Eun Hee Ji, Ji-Young Oh, Momoko Ueda (Jpn), Ha-neul Kim
71 Mika Miyazato (Jpn), Ae-ree Pyun, Young Kim, Hye youn Kim, Sandra Gal (Ger), Karine Icher (Fra), Hye-yong Choi, So yeon Ryu, M.J. Hur, Stacy Lewis (USA), Katherine Hull (Aus), Kyeong Bae
72 Paula Creamer (USA), Giulia Sergas (Ita), In Kyung Kim, Lorena Ochoa (Mex), Hyun Hee Moon, Hee Young Park
73 Bo-Mee Lee, Jeong Eun Lee, Hyeon-ju Lee, Angela Park (Bra), Brittany Lang (USA), Hui jeong Kim, Sun Ju Ahn, Teresa Lu (Tai), Eunjung Yi, Simin Feng (USA)
74 Jennifer Song (USA), Sun Young Yoo, Shi Hyun Ahn, Ji-na Lim, Da-na Kang
75 Jin Joo Hong, Sophie Gustafson (Swe)
76 Joo Mi Kim, Candie Kung (Tai)
77 Hye Jung Choi
78 Nicole Castrale (USA)