Nelly Korda shoots 9-under 63 to lead after first round of LPGA Lotte Championship
  • Monday, May 20, 2019
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Nelly Korda shoots 9-under 63 to lead after first round of LPGA Lotte Championship

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Nelly Korda tees off on first hole of the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club on Wednesday.

Nelly Korda held the lead after the first round of the Lotte Championship, firing a bogey-free 9-under par 63 at Ko Olina Golf Club on Wednesday.

Korda, playing in the afternoon, pulled even with morning leader Eun-Hee Ji at 8-under with a birdie on No. 15, and then closed with her ninth birdie on No. 18 to take the lead.

This is Korda’s first time playing in this tournament and in Hawaii.

“I’ve always wanted to come to Hawaii,” the third-year LPGA pro said. “It’s been an exciting week so far. … It kind of reminds me of Florida … Same type of grass. … just reminds me of home.”

Ji’s round — also with no bogeys — featured six birdies on the back nine.

Defending champion Brooke Henderson ended the day in contention, tied for third place with Hyejin Choi after a 7-under 65.

Michelle Wie, the Honolulu product who won here in 2014, shot 5-over 77. In the middle of a three-hole run of bogeys on No. 11, Wie aggravated the right hand that underwent surgery last year. After the round she told reporters she expected to play in Thursday’s second round.

“Hopefully they can patch it up a bit and I’ll be good to go tomorrow,” Wie said.

Kim Kaufman made her first hole-in-one on the LPGA tour. She aced the 162-yard No. 4 with a 7-iron.

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