(The Sports Xchange) - Rookie Sung Hyun Park fired an eight-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Friday in Rogers, Arkansas.
Park went out in 31, including a stretch of six consecutive birdies interrupted by her only bogey of the day, and added three more birdies on the back despite hitting just eight of 13 fairways.
“My play was best with putter today, very good,” Park said.
Three players are two shots back of Park, including So Yeon Ryu, Mel Reid and Ally McDonald.
“I went to see Ian Baker-Finch and he told me -- he actually make me really comfortable to do putting, like he gave me a lot of confidence like just trust yourself,” Ryu said.
“Also, I played with Nick Price, which it was really a pleasure to play with him. He also told me like your putting stroke is so smooth and you’re really great, so after that I got extra confidence.”
Reid, also a rookie, birdied five of her first seven holes. A hole-in-one at the par-three 11th moved her to eight under, but she made bogey on two of the final seven holes.
“As soon as I hit it I thought, oh, it’s got a chance,” Reid said of her hole-in-one. “It just pitched a little longer than we thought. But yeah, I mean, a hole-in-one, I hit a good shot into there. I just hit a little 9-iron, so I think it was 135. I just tried to play a 130 shot and it pitched about seven behind it and came back.”
Reid’s 65 is her low round of the year and comes after she missed the cut in her last three starts.
Ryu played bogey-free golf while notching six birdies. McDonald finished with seven birdies and a bogey while playing in front of her parents, grandparents and several family friends.
“There are few places that my family can get to with the schedule and with my grandparents wanting to watch me,” McDonald said. “I‘m happy they could all be here, and hopefully I can play well for them.”
Stacy Lewis, the 2014 champion, was part of a group that included Juli Inkster, Moriya Jutanugarn, Felicity Johnson and Katherine Kirk at 5 under.
Defending champion Lydia Kos shot a one-under 70.
The opening round was delayed for nearly an hour because of dangerous weather conditions in the area.