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Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE tournament

April 17, 2014

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship.

Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back.

Ryu, the 2012 LPGA Rookie of the Year, had five birdies and one bogey. She birdied three of the first five holes, teeing off from the front nine into the wind.

Ryu said she was able to clear her mind with a week off after a bad result at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she tied for 46th.

“I really don’t think about score or my performance. I just focus on the present, not worry about any (potentially) difficult holes,” Ryu said.

Top-ranked Inbee Park shot a 2-under 70. Park had four birdies and two bogeys.

“I got off to a really good start today. Obviously, the wind wasn’t blowing as hard for my first five holes,” Park said. “The greens seem a little bit more slippery and I had troubles on the back nine controlling the distance. You have to have perfect contact to ride the wind.”

So Young Lee had a share of third with Park. Lee said she wasn’t intimidated by the conditions at Ko Olina Golf Club, located in a resort area on Oahu’s west side.

“The wind here is less that where I play (at home), so that was not a factor,” she said.

Lydia Ko, 2012 LOTTE champion Ai Miyazato, local favorite Michelle Wie and Anna Nordqvist, vying for her third win in 2014, were among the afternoon starters.

Wie returns to her hometown after a runner-up finish at the first major championship of the season, the Kraft Nabisco, at Mission Hills.