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. ( Associated Press )

Thursday, October 3, 2013

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.