ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Na Yeon Choi shot a 1-under 71 in swirling wind Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Sandra Gal after the first round of the LPGA Tour's season-ending Titleholders.
Choi, the LPGA Malaysia winner last month, had a 7-under 137 total at Grand Cypress. The South Korean player also topped the leaderboard Thursday after an opening 66.
Choi opened with a four-putt double bogey on the first hole and was 2 over through 6 holes. She rallied with three birdies in a four-hole stretch.
“The wind did a lot of switching, so when I choose the club, I have to trust that club and just swing hard,'' Choi said. “When my caddie gave me a number, I just trust that number and just see the target and hit it like normally. It was a very tough day.''
Gal, the German star who won the Kia Classic in March for her first LPGA Tour title, had her second straight 69.
“It was definitely a nice round,'' Gal said. “Kind of had a slow start, probably got good use of the wind a little bit and I just made some putts on the back nine – played 4 under on the back. Hitting it to the right spots and thinking your way around the golf course smartly, that's the key, I think, today.''
Hee Young Park (69) and Paula Creamer (71) were 4 under.
Creamer, winless this season, is trying to add distance of the tee.
“I'm a very good iron player, but for a driver, my golf swing doesn't really match hitting a far, long drive just because I am steep on the ball,'' Creamer said. “But that's one of the strengths with my irons is because of that. I'm trying to work on almost two different golf swings if you can think of that, trying to hit the ball on the way up with my driver, and that's something that I don't do, and I lose a lot of distance because of that with my golf swing.''
Park took advantage of her low ball trajectory in the wind.
“Today was so tough, windy, but it's kind of more challenging, more try to more visualize the shot before hitting the shot,'' Park said. “And then I tried to just do same thing before, like I just look at the ball flight, everything, and try to just under the line. So I was fine.''
Wendy Ward was four strokes back at 3 under after a 71, and Suzann Pettersen shot a 69 to reach 2 under.
Michelle Wie was even par after a 73, and top-ranked Yani Tseng was 2 over after a 76.