INCHEON, South Korea (AP) — Nasa Hataoka of Japan has fired a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea.
Danielle Kang and Charley Hull were two shots back on Thursday on a chilly, windy day at the Sky 72 Ocean Course. Minjee Lee trailed by three.
Hataoka had eight birdies through 16 holes to reach 8-under, but then dropped a shot at 17.
After being ranked No. 160 just a year ago, Hataoka has climbed to No. 14 in the LPGA rankings — the top Japanese.
She won her first LPGA title earlier this year at the NW Arkansas Championship in only her second season on the tour, and is aiming to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics.
American Michelle Wie turned 29 on Thursday, but failed to celebrate. She had a disappointing 76.
The KEB Hana Bank tournament if the first in five weeks of play across South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China.
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