Sung Hyun Park opened with an eight-under par, 63 at the Evian Championship for the second consecutive year to take the early lead on day one at the season’s final major.
What she hopes this time around is that she’ll be the one holding the trophy, not finishing runner-up.
The 23-year-old Korean cruised to the early lead in France with the same cool and calm demeanor she’s showed throughout her young career. That self-assurance has already earned her two victories in her rookie season, including what will likely be the first of many majors with her win in July at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Friday, she began her quest for her third win of the season and second major title by going out in 30 with four birdies and a chip in for eagle at the par five, 13th. Park started her day on the back nine.
The Korean hit 16 of 18 greens and made it around in 26 putts, a far cry from the start she had on Thursday when she was six-over par on her first nine when play was suspended due to severe weather.
“When I usually don't play well, I just try to do better and focus on the game, and that's what I'm hoping for every round, and that's what I'm going to keep on doing and focus on the game,” said Park.
Park leads the morning wave by two-strokes ahead of Moriya Jutanugarn at six-under par. Katherine Kirk and Anna Nordqvist sit at five-under par with Marina Alex, Jessica Korda and In-Kyung Kim at four-under par.
Jutanugarn is in the midst of her career best season with eight top-10s so far in 2017 and continues to work towards her first win on Tour. She posted the low round of the afternoon on Friday with a six-under par, 65 that included an outward nine, 30.
Friday morning, two-time Evian champion Ai Miyazato opened with a three-under par, 68 to kick off what could be a fairytale finish to her career on Tour as this week’s event is her final before retiring. In her final event, she chose to play alongside Yani Tseng, and Paula Creamer who was forced to withdraw due to a left wrist injury.
England’s Georgia Hall is in a group on three-under alongside the US Amateur champion Sophia Schubert, 21, from Tennessee, Ai Miyazato, Ayako Uehara and the 2015 champion, Lydia Ko.
Hall started with two birdies on the back nine at the fourth and sixth holes, against a bogey on 14 and added three more at the fourth, fifth and seventh, before making a second bogey at the par-3 eighth.
“My chipping was really good today, which I’m very happy about. I holed some really good putts, but I also missed a couple of short ones. But I managed to kind of keep in there,” Hall, who is making her first appearance in the Evian Championship, told the Ladies European Tour.
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