SHIGA, Japan – So Yeon Ryu shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Toto Japan Classic.
Nasa Hataoka of Japan and South Koreans Jiyai Shin and In-Kyung Kim were a stroke back after rounds of 66 on Friday. Ten other players were within three shots of the lead in the 54-hole tournament at the Seta Golf Club.
Ryu had five birdies on the last eight holes to underline her quick start.
”For a three-round tournament, you’re better to make sure you have a really, really good starting day,” Ryu said. ”I opened with a really good round, so I’m really happy that hopefully I can have this decent round (for) two more days.”
Ryu credited a perfect golfing day, the crowds in Japan, and her putting for her round.
”My short game was really great today. I putted really well,” she said. ”I was struggling with my putting the last two weeks in Taiwan and Shanghai, but I’m so glad my putting worked well.”
Full-field scores from the Toto Japan Classic
Mo Martin had a hole-in-one at No. 9, using a 5-wood on the 178-yard hole to finish with a 69, four shots off the lead.
”It landed just a couple feet short and it was just perfect,” Martin said. ”The greens are really receptive, so it’s kind of coming in high into the wind, so it just landed perfectly and then just skipped in there. The green is just a little bit below where we are, so we had a perfect visual. So everybody saw it.”
The LPGA said the ace was the 26th of the season on the women’s tour.
The LPGA stop in Japan is the fourth of five consecutive tournaments across Asia.