Danielle Kang fired a bogey-free 64 to open up a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Florida.
Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions
The world No 5 carded seven birdies in an impressive display at Tranquilo Golf Course in Orlando to set the pace at the opening LPGA Tour event of the year, where only winners from the previous three seasons are eligible to compete.
Jessica Korda is among Kang’s closest challengers and sits on six under alongside sister Nelly Korda and defending champion Gaby Lopez, with Brittany Lincicome two off the pace alongside Stacy Lewis.
“My short game was really good today,” Kang said. “I had a lot of good feel and touch around the greens and made some good saves. I chipped in once today, which was cool, and even the chip on the last hole wasn’t easy.”
Kang posted successive birdies from the second and chipped in from just off the ninth green to reach the turn in 31, with the American taking advantage of the par-fives 10th and 13th to get to five under.
A long-range birdie at the 14th was followed by a tap-in at the 16th to move Kang into the solo lead, before the 28-year-old closed her blemish-free start to 2021 with back-to-back pars.
Jessica Korda threatened a record-low round after opening with three consecutive birdies and eagling the par-three 13th on her way to reaching the turn in 30, only to lose ground with bogeys at the second and eighth.
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A final-hole birdie took her to six under alongside younger sister Nelly, who made an eagle and three birdies over her final seven holes, while Lopez began her title defence with a bogey-free 65.
Georgia Hall and Mel Reid are six off the pace and in tied-16th after opening-round 70s, while fellow Englishwoman Bronte Law is tied-23rd of the 25 professionals in action following a two-over 73.
Watch the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf and via the Sky Sports Golf YouTube channel.
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