Englishwoman Jodi Ewart Shadoff reeled off seven birdies in a bogey-free round en route to a 7-under 65 in the opening round of the 2018 LPGA Taiwan Championship to sit atop the leaderboard with a two-shot lead.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Haeji Kang of Korea and American Nelly Korda each carded a 67 to tie for second. Taiwan's Wei-Ling Hsu, who finished tied for 10th in this tournament last year, shot a 68 to tie for fourth with Rolex Rankings no. 3 So Yeon Ryu of Korea, American Ally McDonald, Korean Jeong Eun Lee of Korea and Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn.
Hsu's round was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole of Ta Shee Golf & Country Club, where she used a pitching wedge from 100 yards out to hit her third shot into the green. The ball landed beautifully on the green, bounced once and slowed rolled into the cup for an eagle-3. "That was the first time I holed out for an eagle in my LPGA career," said Hsu.
Hsu also had three birdies against a lone bogey on the 15th hole, where she put her tee shot in a fairway bunker and ended up dropping a shot. "I felt a bit nervous on the back nine when I had a share of the lead and missed a couple of makeable birdie putts," said Hsu, who opened her LPGA season with a runner-up finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Shadoff said after her round that she had hit some really close shots and holed some good putts. "Everything seems to be clicking. Courses that are long (like this) suits my game. The greens are small...but I hit 12 fairways today so that definitely helped," said Shadoff, who shot a hole-in-one last week in Shanghai.
Taiwan LPGA (TLPGA) veteran Babe Liu shot a 69 today for a four-way tie for ninth. Liu said her goal coming into this tournament is to shoot 69s, which was exactly what she did. "This course is quite challenging for me as it plays quite long and there are quite some slopes and undulations," said Liu, who has recorded seven career wins on the TLPGA tour.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Taiwanese amateur Yu-Chiang Hou held her own against top pros in the field today, including defending champion Eun-Hee Ji of Korea, as she fired an impressive 2-under 70 to tie for 13th. "This course is in excellent condition and it's challenging, but luckily for me there weren't too many surprises out there," said Hou, who shot four birdies against two bogies.
Hou added, "I tried not to be overly aggressive and played it safe , which really worked!" Hou, who represented Taiwan in women's golf in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and won a TLPGA event in late May, is the top-performing amateur in the field today.
Rolex Rankings no. 1 Sung Hyun Park of Korea fired a 71 today, tied for 23rd with a handful of notable players including former champion Lydia Ko of New Zealand and 2018 ANA Inspiration champion Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden.
Inaugural LPGA Taiwan Championship winner Yani Tseng still couldn't get much going today and found herself 4 shots over par after 13 holes. However, Tseng managed to close with a birdie on the par-3 18th hole with Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation chairman Johnson Wang, Swinging Skirts Golf Team captain Pony Chiu and their two-year-old daughter Nova Wang on the sidelines, and gave local fans something to cheer about.
Round 2 of the 2018 LPGA Taiwan Championship will tee off from 8:22 AM tomorrow, with the leading group made up of Shadoff, Kang and Korda scheduled to start at 10:45 AM. Wei-Ling Hsu will start with Moriya Jutanugarn and Megan Khang at 10:23 AM from the first hole.
Tickets for the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship are available for purchase on the ibon platform: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/pages/tickets. To make things easier for fans, free shuttle buses are scheduled to operate between Ta Shee Golf & Country Club and Taipei MRT Yongning Station from Thursday to Sunday. Daily live telecast will also be provided by FTV, FTV News Channel, Hami Video and Chunghwa Telecom MOD. For more information, please visit the official tournament website: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/?locale=tw