Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Choi Shoots 67 to Lead LPGA Championship

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Choi Shoots 67 to Lead LPGA Championship

Article excerpt

PITTSFORD, N.Y. * Not a late band of rain, a soggy course, nor those pesky orange flags could deter Chella Choi. Not with her father on the bag.

The 22-year-old South Korean, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel after the first round of the rain-delayed LPGA Championship.

Brittany Lincicome and Jiyai Shin were tied for third at 69, while Jessica Korda and Se Ri Pak were tied for fifth, another stroke back. Defending champion Shanshan Feng of China had a 2-over 74 as only 14 players broke par in the second major of the year.

Playing in the afternoon long after Pressel had shot 68 to gain the early lead, Choi surged up the leader board with a flawless performance on the front nine at rain-soaked Locust Hill Country Club. She made five birdies and no bogeys on her opening nine, averting most of the trouble that lurked at every hole of the waterlogged layout by hitting all 14 fairways and reaching 15 greens in regulation.

"I had a really good driver today," said Choi, whose 54-year-old father, Ji Yeon, has vowed to serve as her caddie until she gets that first victory. "My goal was to hit the fairways."

Playing in light drizzle, Choi reached 6 under with another birdie at the deceptively difficult par-4 10th hole, which yielded only 12 birdies to go with 58 bogeys and seven double bogeys.

The first steady rain of the day put a damper on Choi's final seven holes, but she remained steady, making her only bogey at the par-4 13th hole and parring out.

Choi's best finish in four-plus years on the tour is a tie for second in the Manulife tournament in Canada a year ago. She had three top-five finishes last year and held the third-round lead at the Mobile Bay Classic last month before fading on the final day and finishing in a tie for fourth.

"I want my first win with my father," she said. …

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