Kim takes early three-shot lead in Thailand

In-Kyung Kim plays a shot during Round 3 of the Dubai Ladies Masters.

In-Kyung Kim plays a shot during Round 3 of the Dubai Ladies Masters.

PATTAYA, Thailand – South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim tied a course record with a 9-under-par 63 to take the lead after the first round of the season-opening LPGA Thailand on Thursday.

Kim, ranked No. 7, started with a birdie and went on to pick up nine more. She matched the course record set by 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Stacy Prammanasudh in 2008 and defending champion Ai Miyazato of Japan in 2010.

“I didn’t think about the record, I just wanted to play well,” Kim said. “I should do this more often.”

The start of the $1.45 million tournament was played in damp conditions after heavy downpours earlier in the week. Due to the wet surface at the 6,469-yard Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course, players were allowed to use preferred lies.

“I started with a birdie and then kept making birdies,” Kim said. “My coach and I work on my game and it really helped today. It was a good start, so I couldn’t be happier. “

Top-ranked Yani Tseng and Juli Inkster each shot 66 and were three shots behind Kim.

“It’s a pretty good round for this course. It’s playing longer this year,” Tseng said. “I hit lots of 7-iron, 6-iron, 5-iron, which is totally different from last year. I just didn’t hit my irons as good, but I’m staying patient and I hope the next three days get better.”

Inkster started with bogeys on the second and third holes before sinking seven birdies and an eagle to go with a third bogey late in the day.

“I hit a bad shot on three and on two, I hit a good shot, but I couldn’t get up and down,” the 50-year-old Inkster said. “I hung in there and started hitting some really good irons and got some birdies. I didn’t really get in too much trouble today. Hit my irons really good.”

Also near the top was Catriona Matthew (67) and Pettersen (68), followed by Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis, who all had 69s.

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