Inbee Park goes low to grab LPGA Tour lead in Arkansas

Former World No 1 Inbee Park is the first-round leader at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship after firing a nine-under-par 62.

Seeking her 20th LPGA Tour victory but first in over a year, the seven-time major winner fired five straight birdies from the 11th, and added four more birdies for good measure in a flawless round.

“It’s always great to see the ball rolling in the hole,” Park said. “I haven’t been seeing that for such a long time.

“For a couple of years or so I have been missing a lot of short putts. … I was just trying to be patient and trying to wait for the day that’s to come. I know I have a good feel on the putter, and it just wasn’t going in the last couple of years or so. I was really waiting for this moment and, hopefully, I can keep this going.”

The South Korean is chasing her second title at Pinnacle Country Club following an earlier victory in 2013, the year in which she also captured three of her seven major titles.

“I have played this golf course so many times, so it helps me playing through this week,” said the South Korean. “I love playing this golf course.”

Paula Creamer, Carlota Ciganda and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong are tied for second a shot back, while Ariya Jutanugarn, Annie Park and Maria Torres lie a further stroke behind.

Creamer, whose last victory came in 2014, was eight under through 12 holes before playing her last six in even par.

“I hit the ball really well,” she said. “I don’t think I missed one fairway today. I had 6-, 7-, 8-footers pretty much on all the holes. I made them. I was putting really well and it was kind of one of those days where I felt like I was going to hit a good shot and make the putt.”

Like Creamer, Ciganda also had nine birdies and a bogey.

“I really like this course,” she said. “I think you can go out there and shoot a low score. … I hit my irons really good today, my wedges and then I made some good putts. Very happy with the round.”