Pornanong Phatlum leads Safeway Classic
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Lexi Thompson after the first round of the LPGA’s Safeway Classic.
The 23-year-old Pornanong had 10 birdies and two bogeys in her afternoon round at Columbia Edgewater.
“Putting was so good,” said Pornanong. “I changed putter for this week and feeling very good. And I made many birdies today, like 10 birdies today. ... I just try my best and I’m feeling very good with the course. I like the course, very nice.”
The 18-year-old Thompson eagled the par-5 seventh hole and had five birdies in her bogey-free morning round.
“I would say just my iron shots into the green,” Thompson said about her strongest play Thursday. “I hit a lot of good ones and I played the par 5s 4 under, so I took advantage of those. Overall, I’ve just been working on the consistency of my game and working on tightening my shots up.”
Christie Kerr, the winner in 2008 the last time the event was played at Columbia Edgewater, was at 66 along with Lizette Salas and Germany’s Sandra Gal.
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis, returning to play after withdrawing from the Canadian Women’s Open last week because of illness, opened with a 67.
Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak also were in the large group at 67 that included Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato. The 53-year-old Inkster won the last of her 31 tour titles in 2006.
Natalie Gulbis had a hole-in-one on the second hole and finished with a 68.
Suzann Pettersen, the 2011 winner, also shot 68.
Defending champion Mika Miyazato opened with a 71.
Top-ranked Inbee Park withdrew Tuesday because of illness.