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Phuket Sports: Stacy Lewis sizzles in record-tying opening round

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Phuket Sports: Stacy Lewis sizzles in record-tying opening round | Thaiger

PHUKET: America’s Stacy Lewis struck a stunning nine-under par 63 to leave the rest of the field in her wake in the opening round of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament at Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course yesterday. The score tied her career-low round and also the tournament record.

Lewis, who was the LPGA’s Player of the Year in 2012, raced three shots clear of second-placed Karine Icher of France who fired an excellent six-under 66.

In joint third place were veteran Scottish player Catriona Matthew, America’s Gerina Piller and the Korean duo, Inbee Park and Amy Yang, who all shot 67.

Defending champion and world No 1 , Yani Tseng of Taiwan, saw her hopes of a third successive win in Pattaya fade when she struggled with a three-over 75, 12 shots behind the leader.

Last year’s runner-up, Ai Miyazato of Japan, was in joint 10th place after shooting a three-under 69.

Lewis, ranked third in the world, was simply in sizzling form, firing an eagle and eight birdies, with just one bogey on the par-three 16th. ”It was just a great day,” she said.

”I hit the ball really well from the start and holing out for an eagle at the third really gave me the confidence I needed for the rest of the round,” she said. ”I really started swinging at it and only missed two greens all day.”

Lewis said she had a ”ton” of birdie opportunities. ”Everything went well and I even left a few birdies out there, although I’m not complaining,” she said.

She was unlucky at the 15th when her shot hit the flagstick on the fly and bounced a long way from the hole. Coincidentally, playing partner Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had hit the actual flag with the previous shot. ”I’ve never seen that happen before back to back,” said Lewis.

The American said a new driver had also improved her play. ”I’m hitting it a little further. All in all it’s a good thing.” Lewis admitted that after being named Player of the Year there was considerable pressure on her to perform even better this year.

”That’s the hardest part. You have to keep down the expectations,” she said. ” Realistically you can’t win every week.”

Icher, ranked 33rd in the world, credited her excellent round to a brand new putter that she has only had for two days.

”Last week I played really well but I missed my putts. So I changed the putter,” she said. ”I had a much better feeling with the new putter.”

She said that a more physical training routine had also helped her, particularly with stamina and her driving.

”I have been doing a lot of cardio and strength training and that has helped,” Icher said. ” I need to be longer with my driving to be at the top.”

Piller, ranked 91, also said good putting was the key to her round.

”My irons were good,” said Piller. ”I also drove the ball well, but my putting was the difference.”

She said she had discarded a new putter she used last week and went back to her old putter from last year and it worked. ”It felt so good.” Piller said it was important to hit the fairways because the rough was really difficult.

Korea’s So Yeon Ryu , who was among three players in joint seventh place after hitting a four-under 68, said she was happy with her score considering she was suffering from an eye infection which hampered her vision.

Ryu admitted she struggled early on but ”the back nine was much better than the front.”

She thanked her playing partners, Natalie Gulbis and Candie Kung for keeping her spirits up. ” I really enjoyed playing with them. They supported me,” she said.

Ryu, who was named LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2012, admitted that like Lewis she felt some pressure following her success. ”It’s not my expectations, it’s other people’s expectations,” she said.

Miyazato, who won this tournament in 2010, said she was reasonably happy with her opening 69, but felt a bit tired. ”It was pretty tough out there,” she said. ”The rough is quite tricky, but the greens are fine and fast.”

Thailand’s big hopes, sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanagarn both performed solidly, Ariya shooting 69 and her older sister 71.

Channel 7 TV, the main organizer of the event, will broadcast live all four days of the tournament. Tickets are available at Thai Ticket Major. There is free admission for those under 18 or over 60.

you can follow the updated news on:

Website www.lpgathailand.com or www.hondalpgathailand2013.com.

By media release.

 

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