Birdie spree lifts Chun into early lead

Chun In Gee of South Korea driving from the bunker on the ninth hole during the first round of the LPGA Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The world No. 6 is gunning for her first Tour win this year with four runner-up finishes unde
Chun In Gee of South Korea driving from the bunker on the ninth hole during the first round of the LPGA Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The world No. 6 is gunning for her first Tour win this year with four runner-up finishes under her belt.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PORTLAND (Oregon) • Chun In Gee, who is seeking her first win this year after four runner-up finishes, fired a six-under 66 to grab the first-round lead at the LPGA Tour's Portland Classic on Thursday.

The South Korean has a one-shot lead over a group of six golfers that comprises Japan's Nasa Hataoka, Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen, Americans Cindy LaCrosse and Cheyenne Woods, two-time defending champion Canadian Brooke Henderson and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.

Chun also has six top-three results this year.

The 23-year-old said that she likes the tree-lined course and added it is not only pleasing to the eye but ideal for her game.

"Coming here, everyone said the course is really good. I agree. I like big trees. It's amazing," she said.

"Greens are very consistent and in really good condition. I was confident on the course."

She finished with seven birdies, including three in a row on the back nine starting at the par-four 13th.

Her lone bogey came on the par-three 11th.

Henderson, who played last week in front of her home crowd at the CP Women's Open in Ottawa, Canada, did not show any signs of fatigue.

Like Chun, Henderson is comfortable hitting shots on the Columbia Edgewater Country Club layout.

"I think it just suits my eye. I love tree-lined courses and it's so green everywhere you look.

"The grass is very lush, and I love that," said Henderson. "Just playing here I have so many incredible memories from two years ago and last year, and I just try to feed off the energy and adrenaline that I felt over the past couple (of) years."

Moriya, who leads the LPGA Tour in birdies this season, added half a dozen more to her tally.

"It's always very nice to come back to this golf course," she said.

"It's just like a different style. More like old-style, but it's really nice."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LPGA PORTLAND CLASSIC
Day 3: Singtel TV Ch116 & StarHub Ch210, tomorrow, 6.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline 'Birdie spree lifts Chun into early lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe