BEIJING (AFP) - Australia's Minjee Lee birdied four of the last five holes to take a two-stroke lead at the end of the first round at the US$2.1 million (S$2.9 million) Blue Bay LPGA golf event on China's Hainan island on Thursday.
Her seven-under 65 put her ahead of Germany's Sandra Gal and American Jessica Korda, with South Korea's Chella Choi one stroke further back at four under.
A typhoon in the area limited the players' practice time ahead of the tournament at the Jian Lake Blue Bay course.
"I just took it one shot at a time and didn't try to get ahead of myself," the 20-year-old Lee said, after taking her third first-round lead this year.
"Just played my own game today and a lot of my putts dropped today."
Gal was the early leader, with an eagle and two birdies in her first five holes, and while she could not maintain the momentum, her 67 was her first sub-70 round since the Canadian Pacific Women's Open in August.
"(I) played it to go a little long and come back and I had a perfect line and it just rolled in," she said of her play on the second hole where she sunk the ball from 89 metres.
"It's just a nice start. It just kind of jump-starts your round and kind of gets you in a nice flow."