Young, Castrale Lead Honda LPGA Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) _ Americans Heather Young and Nicole Castrale shot 7-under 65s in hot conditions Friday to share the first-round lead in the Honda LPGA Thailand, the first of three straight LPGA Tour events in Asia.
Young, the 2005 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic winner, had a bogey-free round on the Amata Spring Country Club course. She made a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 14, a 25-footer on No. 16 and closed with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
``I did everything better today than I have done it in a while,″ Young said. ``I gave myself birdie chances by hitting good shots and then made the shots, which always helps. You have to do that to shoot 65.″
She carried an umbrella to fend off the sun and drank a lot of water.
``Yes, the heat is definitely a factor out there,″ Young said. ``Marisa (Baena) and I were talking about it the last few holes. Four more, then three more, two more, one more. It is definitely a factor. I ended up buying a sun umbrella right before I went out there to try to cool it off. I tried to drink a bottle of water every two holes. I don’t know if I quite did that, but I drank a lot.″
Castrale, winless on the LPGA Tour, had eight birdies and a bogey.
``It is hot!″ she said. ``I tried to carry the umbrella as much as I could today, but it is the inevitable that it is hot. You just have to drink a lot of fluids. Everyone has to play in it so you just do the best that you can.
South Korea’s Meena Lee was a stroke back after a 66.
``It was a tough day to play because of the heat,″ Lee said. ``Generally, I had good iron shots and I had a lot of birdie chances, especially on the back nine. I made a lot of my birdie chances and that is what helped me get a low score today. In fact, on the front nine, I had a lot of birdie chances as well, but I missed them.″
South Korea’s Hee-Won Han, fighting a cold, shot a 67.
``Actually, I have a little cold,″ she said. ``It is too hot outside and when we go inside it’s too cold with the air conditioning so I have a little cold now.″
Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Helen Alfredsson, Diana D’Alessio, Jane Park and Kim Saiki opened with 68s, Lorie Kane and Carin Koch topped a group at 69, and Baena matched Christina Kim with a 70. Cristie Kerr, a three-time winner this year ranked No. 4 in the world, was six strokes back after a 71.
The tour will remain in Asia the next two weeks for the KOLON-Hana Bank Championship in South Korea and the Mizuno Classic in Japan. The player who earns the most points in the three events _ called the Global Group _ will qualify for the season-ending ADT Championship.