The Sports Xchange, Published April 17 2014
Former NDSU golfer Anderson in 5th after first round of LPGA's Lotte ChampionshipWind gusting to more than 20 mph made for scenes straight out of a British Open highlight reel in a challenging first round at the LPGA Lotte Championship at Kapolei, Hawaii, on Wednesday.
South Koreans So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim and Se Ri Pak carded 4-under-par 68s to take a one-shot lead over Ayako Uehara of Japan after 18 holes, but Ryu said the persistent winds made club selection impossible and all but ruled out birdies at Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu.
Americans Michelle Wie and Amy Anderson and South Koreans Inbee Park, Ha Na Jang and So Young Lee were two shots behind the leaders at 2-under 70. Anderson, the former North Dakota State standout from Oxbow, N.D., had a bogey-free round. She hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation and birdied two of the four par-5 holes.
Ryu birdied the first two holes and three of her first five. She said the wind gusts even impacted her reads on putts.
"Sometimes it feels like right-to-left wind, but actually it was into wind," Ryu said. "And it was really hard to see and really hard to judge."
"Obviously, the wind wasn't blowing as hard for my first five holes, then it started to really blow," said Park, who leads the LPGA Rolex Rankings and also had two bogeys Wednesday. "I've never seen this golf course playing this hard before. ... The greens seems like it's a little bit more slippery, especially downwind.
"I had trouble on the back nine with controlling the distance. I hit it over the couple of greens. I got to watch out for a little bit of distance controlling the next three days, and obviously everybody is going to make mistakes in this wind. Obviously it's really tough to control the distances, so I'm just trying to make -- I really scrambled for pars on this golf course."
Park said golfers are expecting the wind to be difficult all week.
Four players shared 10th place at 1-under 71: American Katie Burnett, Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum, the Netherlands' Christel Boeljon and Australia's Lindsey Wright.
On TV: Today through Saturday, 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the Golf Channel.