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Korean Golfers Cruise in LPGA Opener

Posted February. 16, 2008 04:01,   


This year’s LPGA tour has kicked off.

Korean players ranked on the top of the reader board en masse on the first day of the season.

Jacqueline Yang shot six birdies and two bogeys for a 4-under 68 for the second place at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay, which opened the LPGA Tour’s 2008 season, in Hawaii on Friday. Yang has ranked 115th in prize money last year.

Lee Mee-na (KTF) and Oh Ji-young tied for third with a 3-under 69, and Park Hee-jung (CJ), Kim In-kyung (Hana Financial Group) and Jane Park tied for 10th for a 2-under 70. Korea’s domestic golf queen Shin Ji-ae (Hi Mart) ranked 23rd for a 1-under 71, tying with Kim Joo-yeon.

Kelli Kuehne of the U.S. held the lead for a 5-under 67. Kuehne, who debuted in LPGA in 1998, claimed the title only once in 1999. Her world ranking is 259th and prize ranking is 122nd.

Cristie Kerr, last year’s U.S. Open champion, tied for third and Swedish superstar Annika Sorenstam and defending champion Paula Creamer tied for 10th on the first day.

Sorenstam has so far won 69 tournaments including 10 majors, but she came off her first winless season last year. The Swede came to the green with four shots from the 17th hole, playing a double bogey, but birdied in the 18th hole, joining the top 10.

Norway golfer Suzann Pettersen, who claimed five victories last year, played four birdies and six bogeys, falling down to tied 65th place for a 2-over 74. Korean golfer park Ji-eun, 29, who had not shown up in the tournaments since last September, tried to make a nice comeback, but she played a double bogey and two bogeys for a 4-over 76, failing to rank within the top 100.

Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa, Kerrie Webb (Australia, 3rd), Kim Mee-hyun (KTF, 9th), Seri Park (CJ, 10th) missed the event.