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1st Round of LPGA Championship Completed


After heavy rains washed out the opening 18 holes Thursday, the first round of the LPGA Championship finally got underway. Rising to the top of the leaderboard in the major was Chella Choi, who fired a 5-under 67 at Locust Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.

Choi got off to a great start, posting five birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 5-under 30. But on the home half, she could only muster a birdie and a bogey for an even-par 37.

One stroke back are fellow South Korean Jiyai Shin and Morgan Pressel, while alone in fourth after 69 is Brittany Lincicome. Pressel, a 25-year-old Floridian, was impressed with the condition of the course, which received nearly two inches of rain on the eve of the tournament.

"The ground staff here did an incredible job getting the course ready," Pressel said. "I don't think the greens could be any more perfect. There's some casual out there but that's to be expected. We're just happy to get out on the golf course."

Tied for fifth after 70s are Jessica Korda and South Korea's Se Ri Pak. With all the dampness, Korda said players who strayed away from the short grass paid a penalty. "If you don't hit the fairway you can be as long or as short as you want, but it's still going to play at a disadvantage," she said about the rough. "That ball sits down - you can't even get it out."

Several players shot 71s, including veteran Laura Davies of England and American teenager Lexi Thompson.

The shot of the day came from a player who wasn't even expected to be entered in the LPGA Championship. Yani Tseng, who earlier in the week announced she wouldn't be playing (she withdrew from Wednesday's pro-am) because of a nasty bout of tonsillitis, was indeed entered.

Beginning the first round on the 10th tee, the 24-year-old from Taiwan carded an even-par 72 that was highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 15th (her sixth hole). No. 1-ranked Inbee Park also shot a 72.

"I see where it was, but I did not see it go in," Tseng said of her ace. "I had a hard time seeing the ball today. So I see it was good in the air, so that's all I needed. This is my first hole in one since I turned pro."

As for her health, Tseng added, "I'm getting better, but my gums, like my tooth still hurts really bad. So I couldn't eat much. But everything is getting so much better. Like my energy level, my everything is kind of very good. Like I don't feel tired after 18 holes. So it's good."

Defending champion Shanshan Feng opened with a 74, a score matched by No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis.

For complete scoring details, visit www.lpga.com.