It’s never a surprise to see South Koreans atop the leaderboard of an LPGA event. Amy Yang and Seon Hwa Lee, relative unknowns to the casual American LPGA fan, shot a pair of five-under 67s to open the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. These ladies are playing without pressure unlike their fellow Koreans Jiyai Shin and Na Yeon Choi, who are in the tight race to become the first South Korean to take home the LPGA’s most prestigious honors.
“I just tried to make par every hole because the fairways, the rough are longer and thicker, and the greens are fast and slope a lot,” Yang said. “I just tried to play safely…Especially with the cold weather again (Friday). Another safe game, yeah. At least I’ll try.”
Julieta Granada fired a three-under 69 to trail Lee and Yang by two shots. Four players are tied for fourth at two-under.
Besides Choi and Shin, the only three players that can win POY struggled in the cold conditions. American Cristie Kerr shot 70, Yani Tseng posted 75 and Ai Miyazato shockingly carded 80.
The chilly and tough conditions at Grand Cypress Golf Club on Thursday caused delays due to the slow pace. The afternoon wave started 20 minutes behind schedule.
First-round play was called for darkness at 5:30 p.m. with 27 players remaining on the course and will resume at 7 a.m. Second-round pairings will begin at 7:30 a.m.