Park Two Up in Taiwan Championship


Inbee Park carded a 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over gallery favorite, Yani Tseng, after the first round of the Taiwan Championship. The $2 million, 72-hole LPGA Tour event began Thursday at Sunrise Golf & Country Club in Yang Mei, Taiwan.

Park, a 24-year-old South Korean who's won twice this year - including the LPGA Malaysia two weeks ago, posted four birdies on the front nine and three more on the back. She anticipated a little worse weather than was experienced in the opening round. "We were expecting a lot of wind and I was prepared for it. But today it was really calm and a very nice day," Park said.

In addition to her win in Malaysia, Park has been red-hot of late; she came into Taiwan with top-10 finishes in her past 10 starts. She owed the improvement to better work on the greens. "Earlier in the season I was hitting the ball I stayed probably the same as right now, but I wasn't putting as well earlier in the year, and I was just trying to find the right putter and the right stroke for me," she told reporters.

"And I finally find it the middle of the season and it started working really good and I'm rolling the ball great."

Tseng, the defending champion, carded a 67 that listed six birdies and a bogey. The No. 1-ranked female player in the world said she doesn't feel much pressure playing in her homeland. "I feel very good to be back in Taiwan and play the LPGA tournament here, especially I practice in Sunrise Golf Club here, like four, five years, so I know the course very well," she said after her round.

"This morning I see so many fans out here, it make me so happy and relaxed. I know everybody is talking about the pressure this week, but I just try to when I see all the fans, I think that pressure is gone because I know doesn't matter how I play, they're still going to be there to give me 100 percent support.

"And I just want to show my big smile and show my best effort on every shot and do my best all the time. I think I played great today. I feel really good. I hit good on my driving and my iron shot and I give myself lots of birdie opportunities out there."

Tied for third after 68s are Americans Nicole Castrale and Danielle Kang, South Korean Hee Young Park, and Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

Shooting 69s were Americans Paula Creamer and Lizette Salas, Korean Chella Choi and the winner in last week's HanaBank Championship in South Korea, Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

Michelle Wie opened with a 71. No. 2-ranked Stacy Lewis, who leads the LPGA's points-based Player of the Year race, is not entered in the Taiwan tournament.

For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.aspx.


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