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China's Liu Yu shoots personal best 62 to take early LPGA lead


Los Angeles (AFP) -

Liu Yu broke her personal scoring record for the second straight year at the Thornberry Creek Classic tournament with a bogey-free 62 on Thursday.

Liu shot 10-under to take a one-shot lead over American rookie Yealimi Noh and South Korean Lee Jeong-eun after the first round of the LPGA Tour event in Oneida, Wisconsin.

Liu's previous personal best was a 63 in the second round of this tournament in 2018.

"I really like the golf course, apparently," said Liu, who made eight birdies and an eagle in her opening round.

"I just made a lot of putts, mid-range putts inside 15 feet, which didn't really happen at all last week. I really love the greens here."

Liu wasn't the only player from China who had a solid opening round. Feng Shanshan shot an eight-under 64 and is tied for fourth with Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong and five others.

He Muni, who has become a social media sensation with more than 225,000 Instagram followers in her rookie season on the Tour, fired a 69 and is tied for 47th, while Yan Jing shot a four-under 68.

Liu said this course reminds her of home.

"It just really fits my eye," she said. "Bent grass fairways and greens. That's what I grew up playing with because I was born and raised in Beijing, which is the north part of China, so we always had bent grass."

Noh shot a 63 in her professional debut on Thursday. She turned down a scholarship offer to play golf at a US college and instead turned pro. Thursday was her third LPGA event but first as a professional.

"I was actually really nervous on the first hole," she said. "I told myself I wasn't nervous but it was a little different playing like my first LPGA as a pro.

"I chunked it on the first hole, but it was all right. Throughout the round I got a little more comfortable."

Spain's Carlota Ciganda and Thai sisters Moriya Jutanugarn and Ariya Jutanugarn are part of a group of seven players who shot seven-under 65.

Park Sung-hyun, who moved into the world number one spot on Monday after winning the NW Arkansas Championship, also shot a 65. The 25-year-old Park notched her second win of the season and took over the top spot from Ko Jin-young.

American Presley Cornelis had the roughest day of anyone in the field, shooting five double bogeys in a row, beginning at the par-three No. 2 and finished with a 24-over 96. Cornelis is 34 shots back of Liu.