PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Megan Khang shot a 5-under 68 in strong wind Friday for a share of the lead in the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, her first event as an LPGA Tour member.
The 18-year-old Khang eagled the par-5 fourth hole and had four birdies and a bogey in wind gusting to 30 mph at the Ocean Club to match England’s Charley Hull and Japan’s Haru Nomura at 8-under 138
“It was such a grind,” Khang said. “To come out with 68 is incredible. Can’t wait for the weekend.”
Hull and Nomura each shot 70.
Khang, from Rockland, Massachusetts, tied for sixth at Q-school in December to earn a tour card.
“I think my game’s at a good place right now and I definitely think I can hold my own,” Khang said. “I was confident in my game. I just didn’t know how I was going to play right now being a rookie and under the circumstances. But I’m just having so much fun out here. I just love it out here.”
The 5-foot-1 Khang hits her drives in the 260-yard range.
“Sandra (Gal) was like, ‘You hit it pretty far for a little one,'” Khang said. “I was like, ‘You’re not the first one to say that.’ … I took it as a compliment.”
The 19-year-old Hull closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th.
“I’ve never played the golf course with that wind before,” Hull said. “It was a completely opposite direction. So, it was good fun to play in that direction. I like it in that direction actually. It was good. Just got to keep patient out there. Obviously, the same for everyone.”
Nomura bogeyed Nos. 14 and 16 after getting to 10 under with a birdie on the 13th.
“Wind is very heavy,” Nomura said. “Some holes yesterday downwind, today into the wind.”
Defending champion Sei Young Kim was a stroke back along with Anna Nordqvist, 46-year-old Catriona Matthew and Min Seo Kwak. Kim shot 68, Nordqvist 69, Kwak 70, and Matthew 71.
“Pretty windy today,” Kim said. “The greens are a little tough and then a couple holes when I on the putting green, really strong wind, almost 30 mph. Little adjust my stance more wide and just worked today.”
Paula Creamer and Hyo Joo Kim were 6 under. Creamer shot 72, and Hyo Joo Kim 70. Nine under with 5 holes left, Creamer dropped four strokes with a double bogey on 16 and bogeys on 14 and 17 before birdieing the 18th.
“It was howling right to left and I was kind of in between clubs and tried to use the wind and I used it too much and I hooked it too much,” Creamer said about the double bogey. “I was aiming literally 35 yards right, but I did too much with my golf swing. I should have hit it a little straighter.”
Third-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 68 to move up 35 places into a tie for 10th at 5 under.
“I woke up and saw the wind and actually saw it as a good thing,” Lewis said. “I knew it was going to be a hard day, but if I could shoot a good number, I could get myself back into contention, which I did. But it was definitely a hard round.”
Cristie Kerr matched the tournament record with a 65 to jump from a tie for 95th after an opening 77 to a tie for 13th at 4 under.
“After yesterday, it wasn’t looking good,” Kerr said. “It was a very difficult day and I just came out and just did it.”
Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke a day after being stung by a bee on the palm of her right hand. She followed her opening 76 with a 73.
Second-ranked Inbee Park withdrew Thursday because of back pain after an 80, the second-worst round of her LPGA Tour career.