Albatross ace takes Miami lead

Jang Ha Na playing her second shot on the ninth hole, where she had one of her seven birdies. A hole-in-one on a par four last week helped her to tied-11th spot in the LPGA season opener in Bahamas.
Jang Ha Na playing her second shot on the ninth hole, where she had one of her seven birdies. A hole-in-one on a par four last week helped her to tied-11th spot in the LPGA season opener in Bahamas.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MIAMI • South Korea's Jang Ha Na, fresh off making the first albatross in LPGA history, fired a seven-under 65 on Wednesday to grab a three-stroke lead after the first round of the Coates Championship.

Her bogey-free round over the 6,541-yard layout at Florida's Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club bolstered her bid for her first LPGA victory.

Six rivals shared second on 68 including compatriots Chun In Gee and Kim Sei Young, Malaysia's Kelly Tan and Taiwan's Candie Kung.

Jang hit a hole-in-one last week on the par-four eighth hole at the Bahamas LPGA Classic for a milestone albatross on her way to a share of 11th in the Tour's season opener. She bought herself a new dog to celebrate her feat, naming the Pomeranian Albatross.

"I have three dogs: Birdie, Eagle and Albatross," she said. "I need one more dog, Hole-in-one."

The birdie proved to be the most popular on Wednesday as Jang made seven. She gained a shot on the fifth and closed the front nine with back-to-back birdies. Then she had four more on the back nine.

"I felt very comfortable today because last year I had a second-place finish, so I really have more confidence on this golf course," she said.

"I like that it's an old golf course, and was just thinking like on the fairway and the greens, there's no problem because the weather is perfect," the 23-year-old added.

Tan was one off the lead but undone by bogeys at Nos. 16 and 18. Chun and Kung fired bogey-free rounds while Kaufman made bogey at 17 to fall out of solo second.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, playing her first round of the season, fired a 69 to share eighth spot, along with France's Karine Icher, South Korean Chella Choi, Thailand's Thidapa Suwannapura and Pornanong Phatlum and Americans Lexi Thompson, Lizette Salas, Mo Martin, Cristie Kerr and Juli Inkster.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LPGA COATES GOLF C'SHIP
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'Albatross ace takes Miami lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe