Korda, Choi go bogey-free in China for LPGA lead

Jessica Korda shot 9-under 64 in the first round of the LPGA Reignwood Classic and shares the lead with Na Yeon Choi.

Jessica Korda shot 9-under 64 in the first round of the LPGA Reignwood Classic and shares the lead with Na Yeon Choi.

Na Yeon Choi and Jessica Korda share the lead after the first round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic, the first stop on the LPGA’s five-tournament Asia swing. Both players posted 9-under 64 Thursday at Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing, China.

Choi and Korda, with bogey-free rounds, put four shots between themselves and their next closest pursuers. Three players – Hee Kyung Seo, Stacy Lewis and Hee Young Park – opened with 68.

Korda is chasing her second career victory this week, and her 64 matched her career-best round. The Solheim Cupper has made 35 starts since her breakthrough win at the 2012 ISPS Women’s Australian Open.

“I finished second in Alabama this year and got a little taste of it and that second win,” Korda said. “I’m kind of going after it. I had a great break for two weeks after Evian back in Czech Republic with my family and I feel really relaxed here. It seems to be a really good golf course; it suits my eye. I’m excited for what the next three days bring.”

Choi’s last victory was at last season’s CME Group Titleholders. She opened the year with top-10 finishes in Thailand and Singapore, and has not missed a cut yet this season. Choi has longtime caddie Paul Fusco back on the bag in China after the two took a short hiatus. She birdied her final four holes on Thursday.

“The good thing is I learn every day,” said Choi. “The beginning of this year I didn’t do that much, maybe trying too much. But right now I know what I have to do and what’s my job. So I just need to stick with it. I think especially this year I put a lot of pressure on myself. This year I was No. 2 in the world and I tried to be No. 1, over trying”

China’s only major winner, Shanshan Feng, shot a 70 and is tied for 14th. The field also includes two top collegians from China. Vanderbilt freshman Simin Feng tied for 30th with a 1-under 71 and Duke freshman Yu Liu shot even-par 72 and is tied for 44th.

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