Eun-Hee Ji posted an opening-round 6-under 66 and holds the early lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship. The Korean native battled tough weather conditions to finish three shots ahead of Sei Young Kim, Megan Khang and Ariya Jutanugarn.
Ji, who is seeking her first win of the 2017 season, turned in a bogey-free scorecard of six birdies.
“I just played great. I don’t feel like any nervous, nothing. So I just focus on my game,” said Ji, following her round at Miramar Resort Country Club.
Kim, who won earlier this season at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play, had two bogeys and five birdies on the day.
“Really tough day today because we got a lot of rain, and a couple of holes, really gusting wind,” said Kim. “It was tough to judge distance and how to take the club. Me and my caddie were talking about the right way, and yeah, we did a great job.”
Khang, also looking for win No. 1 on the season, was grouped with Stacy Lewis and Sarah Jane Smith in the opening round, and cited her fellow competitors during her post-round interview.
“I think that definitely helped get this round going. You play better when you’re in good company I think, so that was good,” said Khang. “I just tried to stay patient. Had like a little bump in the road but (my caddie) just kept telling me to stay patient, and birdies will come, and if not, pars are great. Even in these conditions, I think it’s still a great score.”
Jutanugarn, winner of the 2017 Manulife LPGA Classic, was paired with So Yeon Ryu and Shanshan Feng in round one. The former world No. 1 was pleased with her first 18 holes in Taiwan.
“I think I hit the ball pretty solid today. I’m not worried about the outcome, so I just like focus on the things I can control and that worked out,” said Jutanugarn.
Another former world No. 1, Lydia Ko, headlines a group of five players tied for fifth at 2-under par.
TOP 10: SWINGING SKIRTS, ROUND 1
1 Eun-Hee Ji -6
2 Megan Khang -3
2 Sei Young Kim -3
2 Ariya Jutanugarn -3
5 Min Lee -2
5 Jenny Shin -2
5 Brittany Altomare -2
5 Lydia Ko -2
5 Azahara Munoz -2
10 Brittany Lang -1
10 Brittany Lincicome -1
10 Nicole Broch Larsen -1
10 Angel Yin -1
10 Candie Kung -1
QUOTABLE: EUN-HEE JI
“I like Taiwan, and always when I come here, I play great. That’s why I come always. I like all the people here. I like the food here, dumplings (smiling).”
Credit: Getty Images, LPGA Communications