LOS ANGELES: South Korea’s Hur Mi-jung fired a flawless nine-under par 63 on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to take a two-shot lead over a chasing trio in the LPGA Tour’s Indy Women in Tech Championship.
Hur, who ended a five-year title drought with a triumph in the Scottish Open in August, had nine birdies without a bogey on the Brickyard Crossing course, a par-72 layout that includes four holes on the infield of the famed 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) oval race track where France’s Simon Pagenaud won the Indianapolis 500 in May.
“I was trying to stay in the present,” said Hur, adding that her third LPGA title in North Berwick this year had boosted her confidence.
Hur teed off on 10 and strung together four birdies in a row around the turn before closing her day with a birdie at the ninth.
She was two clear of England’s Bronte Law — whose singles win helped propel Europe to victory in the Solheim Cup — Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Japan’s Sakura Yokomine.
“The weather was perfect,” Law said after firing seven birdies in her seven-under 65. “The conditions were set up really well so it was out there for sure.
“I had plenty of chances and I just kept going with the flow… made a couple of nice putts and found myself birdying the last two, which was nice.”
Law said she didn’t know if she was benefitting from a “Solheim Effect” but she said there was no downside in coming off Europe’s 14.5-13.5 triumph over the United States in the match play showdown at Gleneagles.
Yokomine also played without a bogey, her seven birdies including five in a row from the second through the sixth.
Madsen joined the group sharing second with a round that featured nine birdies and two bogeys.
Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Americans Marina Alex and Amy Olson shared fifth on 66.
Defending champion Park Sung-hyun, ranked second in the world, endured a frustrating day with two double-bogeys in a two-under 70 that also featured an eagle and five birdies.