Morgan, Clyburn one shot adrift
Welsh golfer Becky Morgan is tied for the lead with the defending champion Inbee Park of South Korea after the opening round of the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in China.
With first rounds of four under par 69, the pair hold a two stroke lead over four other players. The leading Chinese player Xiyu Lin, South Korean Shin Ae Ahn and Thai duo Nontaya Srisawang and Pavarisa Yoktuan are all on two under par.
Morgan and Park made the most of the more favourable afternoon draw, playing under overcast skies in drizzly conditions after a wet and windy morning.
Morgan, who is still awaiting her first Ladies European Tour victory, was pleased with her game after making five birdies and one bogey on the Blackstone Course.
She said: “I had a really good finish and birdied the last three holes, but I played really steady and hit some really good hybrids into the longer par fours and missed a couple of putts early on so all in all I was pretty happy.
“I three putted the par 3 15th and gave myself a talking to and birdied the last three. 16 is a short par four and you’ve got sand wedge going in, so that was a good way to get a birdie back and I holed a 12 feet putt. On 17 I hit a good shot to five feet and I was happy and on 18 they’ve moved the tee up so it’s very birdie-able.”
Five-time major champion Park was less impressed with her four birdies and two bogeys, despite an eagle on the par-5 18th.
She said: “I didn’t have as many opportunities as I would have liked as the iron shots were a bit off today and I only eagled one par five and had par on the others. They key to this golf course is making birdies on the par fives so if I can do that tomorrow I think it will be a great round.”
Park’s main rival, Norwegian World No.5 Suzann Pettersen, who won the 2013 event and finished second in 2014, opened with a level par 73 to share 14th place.
She said: “I played pretty good. Just, gosh, way too many putts. You’ve got to hit these putts so firm and hard to get it to the hole and I didn’t seem to pick that up at all through the round so a little bit of work to do, but overall decent. I’m playing okay, just not executing when I have a chance.”
The World Ladies Championship is unique in golf in that three titles are contested simultaneously in one event, with an individual professional stroke play, amateur and professional team aggregate prize, for the leading pair representing their country.
In the team competition, South Korean pair Park and So Yeon Ryu set the pace with their combined score of five under par to lead by three over the China A team of Xiyu Lin and Weiyao Lu and Thai pair Srisawang and Yoktuan.
In a share of seventh place on one under par, China’s Lei Ye holds a two stroke lead in the amateur race over compatriot Xiang Sui.
Romain Langasque equals course record to lead Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Frenchman recovered from an early bogey with two eagles and eight birdies to reach 11 under par.
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,