By Agence France-Presse
South Korean teen rookie Chun Youngin and Canada’s Alena Sharp each fired a seven-under par 64 to share the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the LPGA Marathon Classic.
Chun, a 19-year-old who has missed eight cuts in 11 starts this year, fired the low round of her LPGA career, a bogey-free effort to stun herself by topping the leaderboard at Highland Meadows in Sylvania, Ohio.
“I didn’t know I shot 64,” Chun said. “The funniest thing. I finished par on 18 and then I saw the leaderboard and there’s a 7-under and I was like, ‘Who is that?’ I asked my dad. ‘I think I shot 6, right?’ He said, ‘No, you’re 7.’ So it was me.
“There are three more rounds, but I’m just happy that my name is up there.”
Sharing second on 65 were Germany’s Caroline Masson, Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, American Stacy Lewis and Spain’s Azahara Munoz.
Chun’s best LPGA result came in her 2017 debut when she shared 43rd at the New Zealand Women’s Open.
“First year on LPGA, kind of tough year; but my shots are getting better and better,” Chun said. “When I make a mistake, ball go left, but this week I’m trying to start right side of the pin.”
Chun hit only seven of 24 fairways but recovered well on a course she had played only once, in a Monday pro-am.
“My driver wasn’t that good. but iron was so good,” Chun said. “Narrow fairway but small green. I’m just focused on trying to make birdies.
“The green is so small here, if you put it on the green you’re going to birdie chances. My putter was good.”
Chun had back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth holes and again at the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth. She also ran off three birdies in a row starting at the 13th.
Sharp birdied three of the first four holes but took her lone bogey at the par-3 second. She birdied the eighth as well as back-to-back back nine birdies at 11-12 and 15-16.
“I played really well right from the first tee shot. I felt really calm,” Sharp said. “I’m hitting it really well, so I think I took advantage of a little bit softer greens. I hit a lot of good wedges.
“The challenge is on the tee shots to get the right spot on the fairway. I did that well. As I made more and more just the hole looked bigger and seemed easier to make putts today than it has the last couple weeks.”