Jul 28, 2016 5:57 PM
Mirim Lee shoots 10-under 62 to tie Women's British Open
The Associated Press
WOBURN, England (AP) — Mirim Lee shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday to match the Women's British Open record and open a three-stroke lead in the major championship at tree-lined Woburn Golf Club.
Three weeks after shooting a 64 in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open, the 25-year-old South Korean player made the last of her 10 birdies on the par-3 17th and closed with a par.
Lee fell a stroke short of the LPGA Tour major record of 61 set by Hyo Joo Kim in the first round of the 2014 Evian Championship. Minea Blomqvist shot a 62 in the third round of the 2004 Women's British Open at Sunningdale, and Lorena Ochoa had a 62 in first round of the 2006 Kraft Nabisco. Lee also matched her official LPGA Tour career low set in the second round of the 2014 LPGA Taiwan.
"I've shot 11 under before," Lee said. "It was back in, I think, second round of LPGA Q-School, final stage. Just so happens my caddie at the time (John Kileen) was my caddie today."
Ariya Jutanugarn was second after a bogey-free 65.
"I love this course," said Jutanugarn, the long-hitting Thai player won three straight events in May.
China's Shanshan Feng had a 66, and American Stacy Lewis and South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee shot 67.
Lee birdied the first two holes, added another on the fourth and made five straight on Nos. 7-11 to reach 8 under. She also birdied the par-3 13th on the Marquess Course, the forest layout that is a big change from the seaside links that dominate the tournament rotation.
"When you normally think of British Open, you think of high roughs, difficult roughs," Lee said. "But here it feels more like California, so I think that really made me feel comfortable."
In California at CordeValle in the U.S. Women's Open, she followed her opening 64 with rounds of 74, 76 and 73 to tie for 11th. She missed the cut in the ANA Inspiration to start the major year, and tied for fourth in the KPMG Women's PGA.
"I think the difference is that now I'm trying to have fun," Lee said. "I'm trying to enjoy it, whereas in the beginning of the year, things weren't really going well for me, so I really put a lot of work into it and I think it's just natural that it's showing, the hard work is showing now."
Lee missed the cut in 2014 in her only other appearance in the event. She sat out last year because of a left thumb injury, and still tapes the thumb as a precaution.
"There's no pain." Lee said. "I'm just using it to prevent getting injured. It's just from hitting too many balls and practicing too much."
She won her two LPGA Tour titles in 2014.
Lewis won in 2013 at St. Andrews. She's winless in 56 starts since June 2014.
"Played real really solid. Didn't make any bogeys," Lewis said. "It was great playing with Ariya. She was on fire early, which told me I needed to be aggressive and keep up."
Feng misjudged the timing of the player shuttle and nearly missed her tee time. She ran to arrive just before the announcer started introducing their group.
"Once I showed up, I said 'I'm here!'" Feng said. "I wanted to make sure they saw me."
Charley Hull, the English star playing on her home course, opened with a 69.
"Honestly, the first tee shot today was probably the most nervous I've ever been on a golf course," the 20-year-old Hull said. "I never usually get nervous, so it was quite weird."
U.S. Women's Amateur champion Hannah O'Sullivan had a 70.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko was tied for 89th after a 74. She bogeyed her final two holes.
"My short game wasn't that great to cover up for the missed shots and when I did hit it close, the putts didn't go in," Ko said. "When that's the case, you're not going to shoot a low score."
She's coming off a victory two weeks ago in Ohio, her fourth LPGA Tour win of the year.
Second-ranked Brooke Henderson was tied for 31st at 71.
"I do feel I left some shots out there," Henderson said. "I gave myself tons of opportunities."
Ko and Henderson were off last week while many players competed in the UL International Crown team matches in Illinois.
The tournament is the fourth of the LPGA Tour's five major championships. Ko won the Evian last season for her first major and made it two straight at the ANA Inspiration in April. She then lost a playoff to Henderson in the KPMG Women's PGA. American Brittany Lang won the U.S. Women's Open.
Lang, and fourth-ranked Lexi Thompson shot 72. Thompson teamed with Lewis, Cristie Kerr (72) and Gerina Piller (73) in the Americans' International Crown.
Michelle Wie had a 76. She played the first eight holes in 4 over with a birdie, three bogeys and a double bogey, then parred the final 10 holes.
Third-ranked Inbee Park, the winner last year at Turnberry, is sidelined by a lingering left thumb injury. She hopes to be ready to compete for South Korea in the Olympics.