LOS ANGELES: Laetitia Beck fought off difficult windy conditions to card a seven-under 65 Thursday (Friday in Manila) in the opening round of the LPGA Tour’s Yokohama Classic.
Beck, who missed the cut in her previous three LPGA tournaments, took a two-stroke lead over American Annie Park and Australian Lee Min-Jee.
The first Israeli to qualify for the LPGA tour, Beck took the lead by completing a bogey-free round at the Prattville, Alabama course. She rolled in birdies on the fourth and fifth holes as well as at No. 16 and 17.
“The conditions are great,” she said. “The greens are softer than what I played last year. They were softer so we can attack more. So I think that’s why it’s a scoreable course, especially because we can just go for it, especially with having short irons.”
Beck finished with her lowest round of the season and took an opening round lead for the first time in her career. Her round also was one shy of her career best.
“I think here on this golf course it’s all putting because it’s a very score-able course and hitting a lot of greens, hit the right part of the green and I think I was doing well making putts, even though I did miss birdie opportunities,” Beck said.
“But I made good putts for birdies and just kept going.”
Park finished the round with birdies on five of the first seven holes but also double-bogeyed at No. 8. She also had birdies at No. 11 and 17 but bogeyed No. 15.
Alejandra Llaneza of Mexico shot four-under 68 for fourth while Morgan Pressel finished three-under 69, putting her in a three-way tie with Candie Kung and Vicky Hurst.
Michelle Wie shot a one-under 71 while defending champion Kris Tamulis finished at four-over 76.