• Japan’s Miyazato grabs LPGA Kingsmill lead

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    Mika Miyazato of Japan lines up her par putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort on Friday in Williamsburg, Virginia. AFP PHOTO

    Mika Miyazato of Japan lines up her par putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort on Friday in Williamsburg, Virginia. AFP PHOTO

    WASHINGTON: Japan’s Mika Miyazato fired a six-under-par 65 on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to seize a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the LPGA Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Virginia.

    Miyazato made four birdies in a row and seven in all against a lone bogey to pass Australia’s Minjee Lee, the defending champion, and American Brittany Lincicome and grab the lead.

    “So happy right now,” Miyazato said. “Course condition was pretty wet, but I tried to be more aggressive, so that’s why maybe I played very well today.”

    The 26-year-old from Okinawa won her only career LPGA title at the 2012 Safeway Classic, downing Lincicome and South Korean Park In-Bee.

    Miyazato, a two-time Japan Women’s Open champion, began on the back nine and birdied the par-3 13th hole, then closed with four birdies in a row starting at the par-5 15th to reach the turn at five-under 30.

    After a bogey at the par-5 third, Miyazato responded with birdies at the par-4 sixth and eighth to jump atop the leaderboard.

    “Very excited, because it’s tough right now,” Miyazato said. “I just want to try to be more aggressive.”

    Lee birdied four of the first seven holes, added another at 15 and reached six-under with a birdie at the par-3 17th but a closing bogey dropped her into a share of second.

    “I’m happy to start on a good note,” Lee said. “I was pretty steady. I started off pretty well. Overall pretty solid.”

    Lincicome, another back-nine starter, birdied 14, 15 and 17 then added back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth hole and followed her lone bogey at the sixth with a birdie at the par-5 seventh.

    “It was nice to get off to a good start,” Lincicome said. “Finally got the putter rolling my way, which was nice.”

    World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand, playing alongside second-ranked Park In-Bee of South Korea and third-rated American Lexi Thompson, opened with a 73, with three birdies and three bogeys plus a double bogey.

    “It’s a pretty cool pairing. Hopefully tomorrow all of us will be able to shoot under par and have even more of a good time,” Ko said.

    “I didn’t feel like I was playing really bad out there. Just a couple or three shots I was giving away. We still had a pretty good time.”

    Park opened with her only birdie but fired four bogeys on her way to a 74 while Thompson shot 72 in a roller-coaster round that featured four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.

    AFP

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