PORTLAND: Chun In-Gee, who is seeking her first victory of 2017 after four runner-up finishes, fired a six-under 66 to grab the first-round lead at the LPGA Tour’s Portland Classic on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
South Korea’s Chun has a one-shot lead over group of six golfers that includes Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.
Chun also has six top-three results on the year. She likes the tree-lined course and says it is not only pleasing to the eye but ideal for her game.
“Coming here everyone said the course is really good. I agree. I like big trees. It’s amazing,” said Chun. “Greens are very consistent and in really good condition. I was confident on the course.”
She finished with seven birdies, including three in a row on the back nine starting at the par-four, 13th. Her lone bogey came on the par-three 11th.
Chun is one shot ahead of six golfers at five-under 67, including Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen, Americans’ Cindy LaCrosse and Cheyenne Woods, Moriya, and two-time defending champion Henderson.
Henderson, who played last week in front of the home crowd at the CP Women’s Open in Ottawa, Canada, didn’t show any signs of fatigue.
Like Chun, Henderson is comfortable hitting shots on the Columbia Edgewater Country Club layout.
“I think it just suits my eye. I love tree-lined courses and it’s so green everywhere you look. The grass is very lush, and I love that,” said Henderson.
“Just playing here I have so many incredible memories from two years ago, and last year, and I just try to feed off the energy and adrenaline that I felt over the past couple years.”
Moriya, who leads the LPGA Tour in birdies this season, added a half dozen more to her tally.
“It’s always very nice to come back to this golf course,” she said. “It’s just like a different style. More like old-style, but it’s really nice.”