Shanshan Feng opened with a 5-under 67 at Ko Olina Golf Club to take the first-round lead of the 2018 LOTTE Championship.
With winds topping out at 30 mph, Feng got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning, making bogey on her first hole (No. 10). The Chinese star followed the early blemish with four-straight pars, including a pair on two of the scoring holes (Nos. 13 and 14).
A birdie at the par-4 15th turned things around for Feng, leading to a hat trick of gains (Nos. 15-17) en route to a first-nine 34.
On her final nine, the world No. 1 drained birdies on Nos. 5, 7 and 8 to sign a scorecard comprised of six birdies against one bogey.
Despite a slow start, Feng said she enjoys playing in the wind, and feels it plays to her advantage.
“I like playing in the wind. I even get … more excited in the wind, because a lot of people would be like worrying, oh my God, it’s so windy,” said Feng, who three top-10 finishes at Ko Olina.
“I wake up and I’m like, Yay, it’s windy. So, yeah, that’s what I always feel, and that’s why in this kind of situation I still stay patient on the course and still stay doing my routine.”
Martina Edberg got her LPGA rookie campaign off to a memorable start, making birdies on the first two holes (Nos. 10 and 11) en route to a 4-under 68 to sit T2 alongside Brooke Henderson and Haeji Kang.
Six players are tied for fifth-place at 3-under 69, just two strokes back, including Inbee Park, the runner-up at the ANA Inspiration, and 2013 LOTTE runner-up Lizette Salas.
In her first action since winning the ANA, Pernilla Lindberg shot a 2-under 70, one clear of defending champion Cristie Kerr (71) who sits T15. Michelle Wie posted a even-par 72, highlighted by four birdies.
1 Shanshan Feng -5
2 Haeji Kang -4
2 Brooke Henderson -4
2 Martina Edberg -4
5 Eun-Hee Ji -3
5 Lizette Salas -3
5 Alena Sharp -3
5 Julieta Granada -3
5 Inbee Park -3
5 Mo Martin -3
“I just became World No. 1 at the end of my 10th season. I couldn’t believe, you know, I was still improving. I still think that I still have more spaces to go. I’m not the best yet. So that’s why I want to keep playing.”
– Shanshan Feng
Credit: Getty Images, LPGA Communications