Moriya Jutanugarn shares lead in her native Thailand

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Moriya Jutanugarn shares lead in her native Thailand

LPGA Tour

Moriya Jutanugarn shares lead in her native Thailand

Moriya Jutanugarn notched 11 top-10 finishes a season ago. Yet, the sister of former World No. 1 and seven-time LPGA winner Ariya Jutanugarn has yet to collect her first LPGA title.

That could change this week in her native Thailand.

Jutanugarn, 23, fired a bogey-free 6-under 66 Thursday at Siam Country Club to grab a share of the lead at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Also tied at the top are Lexi Thompson, Minjee Lee and Jessica Korda.

“I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,” said Jutanugarn, who is trying to become the first Thai golfer to win this event. “I just rested this offseason and ate Thai food at home.”

Jutanugarn doesn’t play Siam Country Club often, but she did have a number of friends and family members following an opening round in which she carded six birdies, including four on the back nine.

Thompson eagled her first hole and had three birdies in her first seven holes. In all, Thompsin needed just 28 putts to complete her round. She tied for sixth in her LPGA season debut in the Bahamas, is ranked fourth in the Rolex Rankings and won this event in 2016 before finishing T-4 last year.

 

“It was great to get off to a good start,” Thompson said. “This golf course is a lot of just hitting it in the fairway. Once you’re there, it is also about the second shot.”

Lee won the Oates Vic Open on the Ladies European Tour earlier this month and was T-5 last week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. On Thursday, she carded a back-nine 31 that included four birdies and an eagle off a 45-foot putt at the 18th hole.

“I think I just felt a little bit more fresh and more ready to go,” Lee said. “I actually wanted to play, and so I decided to play like the three events prior to this week.”

Korda, who had offseason jaw surgery, nearly aced the par-3 16th hole before making eagle at the par-4 17th. She capped her round with birdie, finishing with two eagles and six birdies.

“It’s just nice to be out there and be able to hit the shots again,” Korda said. “I had a strong finish last year, and just kind of cap that off and then start today it’s pretty nice. Started with an eagle, too.”

Amy Yang, a two-time winner here, is tied for second at 5 under along with World No. 2 Sung Hyun Park, Brittany Lincicome, Brooke Henderson, In Gee Chun and Megan Khang.

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