Weary Feng not cowed by jet lag, shoots into lead

Feng Shanshan putting on the fifth hole in the first round of the US Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. She enjoyed a great start with three birdies in her first four holes and played comfortably after that for a 66, to lead Amy
Feng Shanshan putting on the fifth hole in the first round of the US Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. She enjoyed a great start with three birdies in her first four holes and played comfortably after that for a 66, to lead Amy Yang by one shot.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEDMINSTER (New Jersey) • China's Feng Shanshan shrugged off the effects of jet lag to fire a six-under 66 for the lead in the weather-disrupted opening round of the US Women's Open at Trump National on Thursday.

The Olympic bronze medallist took advantage of calm morning conditions with a sizzling opening nine of five-under 31 to lead a pack that included perennial Women's Open contender Amy Yang, world No. 1 Ryu So Yeon and former No. 1 Lydia Ko.

A heavy thundershower interrupted the afternoon wave for 2hr 5min and play was called off due to failing light. However, when play resumed early yesterday, none could overtake the quartet.

Feng, who played an event last week in China and arrived in Bedminster exhausted on Monday after an overnight flight, scored in bursts with two batches of three birdies in a bogey-free round at the course some 80km west of Manhattan.

"I had three birdies in the first four holes and then after that I just felt so comfortable about everything," said Feng, who had never broken 70 in 10 previous Women's Open appearances. "I'm really happy about the round. That's my low score in US Open ever so hopefully I can keep it going."

South Korean Yang, who has finished in the top four in all but one of the last five US Opens, was one back in second place after a 67.

Ryu, winner of this year's ANA Inspiration Major, birdied three of her last five holes for a 68, while New Zealander Ko, 20, slipped from six under with two late bogeys in her 68 to also share third.

  • 11 

  • Number of US Women's Open appearances before Chinese golfer Feng Shanshan went under 70 for the first time, hitting a first-round 66.

Rio Games silver medallist Ko played in a group with Feng and gold medallist Park In Bee (77) in an Olympic podium threesome and bogeyed the last after hitting a wedge from the fringe rather than putting through the frog's hair.

"Obviously a little disappointing to finish up with a bogey on the last, but when I see how many good par saves I made throughout the day, I'm okay with that," said Ko, after her best start at this tournament.

Feng took it relatively easy after arriving in Bedminster, limiting herself to nine holes of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday while spending extra time on her putting.

She said that the Kumho Tire Ladies Open in Shandong had proved to be a good warm-up for her - the course was narrow and forced her to hit the ball straight.

"I think that was one of my keys, why I actually played well today, because I left myself birdie chances for most of the holes," she said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US WOMEN'S OPEN
Day 3: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, 3am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Weary Feng not cowed by jet lag, shoots into lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe