Inbee Park takes 1-stroke lead at LPGA’s Singapore event


SINGAPORE — Inbee Park birdied two of her final three holes in a bogey-free round Thursday for an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead at the LPGA Tour’s HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club.

Hee Young Park holed out from the fairway for an eagle to start her back nine and birdied three of her final five holes and was a stroke behind her world No. 2-ranked compatriot.

“I hit a lot of greens and fairways, today, I left myself a lot of opportunities,” Inbee Park said. “A great day.”

Five players were three strokes behind and tied for third with 67s, including Women’s British Open champion Sophia Popov.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand, whose win in Hawaii a week ago moved her up to No. 7, shot 69. World No. 1 Jin Young Ko had a 71 and No. 5 Danielle Kang of the U.S. shot 72.

ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit shot 70. The 21-year old from Bangkok, who played college golf at UCLA, won the first major championship of the year in her rookie season on tour.

Former Women’s PGA champion Hannah Green of Australia shot 71 and now has 13 consecutive rounds under par. Green was one of only three players who shot in the 60s all four rounds in Los Angeles last week in a tournament won by Canadian Brooke Henderson, who is not playing here.

The defending champion from 2019, Sung-hyun Park, had a forgettable day, shooting 78.

There ís limited spectator access to the course due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns. Singapore has had only 30 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and most of the current virus cases are those who have arrived from overseas and are in quarantine.

Players had to undergo COVID-19 testing before they left for Singapore and once they arrived.

The tour moves to outside Bangkok next week for the Honda LPGA Thailand at Chonburi. A third tournament in China planned for the following week was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Current plans are to have the LPGA return to Asia later this year — from mid-October to early November — for four tournaments in Shanghai, Busan, South Korea, Taipei, Taiwan and Shiga, Japan. All four tournaments were last played during the same period in 2019.

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