Flawless Kang seizes lead in Ohio

Danielle Kang has an early lead at the LPGA opener in Ohio with England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff a shot behind and Australian Minjee Lee tied for fifth.

01-Aug-2020 By Australian Associated Press
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A flawless, six-under-par round has propelled Danielle Kang into a first-round lead at the LPGA event in Toledo, a stroke ahead of Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

The 54-hole tournament at Ohio's Inverness Club started on Friday without fans as the LPGA resumed after the coronavirus outbreak forced the suspension of play following the Women's Australia Open in February.

Best-placed Australian, world No.8 Minjee Lee is in a share of fifth at three under along with New Zealand's Lydia Ko.

World No.4 Kang (66), who won the Women's PGA Championship in 2017, put up six birdies and told reporters she was happy to be back competing after not working with her caddie for six months.

"I would say I just didn't have any hiccups on any part of the game," the 27-year-old said.

"I definitely miss-hit some shots, miss-hit some putts but I had some great iron shots, great tee shots and great putts and chips.

"So any time one part of my game kind of gave he me a tough shot, I made it up with a good save."

England's Ewart Shadoff, who has more than 20 top-10 finishes in her career but has never won an LPGA Tour event, hit 15 greens and sunk five birdies for a five-under-par 67.

"I just wanted to come out and find my feet a little bit," she said.

"I'm playing for the next five weeks and I'm really happy with my start and where my game is, especially around such a tough track like Inverness."

Elsewhere in the field, South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace and France's Celine Boutier were each two strokes back from the leader headed into Saturday, while world number two Nelly Korda, the highest-ranked golfer in the field, struggled with uneven play to end the round four-over par.

Friday's action marked the LPGA's first tournament in five months, with rigorous health and safety procedures in place, designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

World number 44 Gaby Lopez was forced to withdraw after testing positive.


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