INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA – Amy Yang of South Korea impressed friends and family in the gallery as she shot a 5-under 67 to finish in a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship on Friday.
Yang carded six birdies — five straight from the par-4 4th hole — against a lone bogey to tie with Katherine Hull-Kirk of Australia, compatriot Pak Ju-young and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden.
Caroline Hedwall, also of Sweden, was a further stroke back.
“It’s been a long time since I played in Korea, so I had a lot of family and friends around me,” said Yang, whose bogey came on the first hole. “So in the beginning I was a little bit nervous, but later on I had better concentration and focus, so I made five birdies in a row.”
Nordqvist will be bidding to break a four-year winless drought.
“I feel like I put myself in a couple of good positions I just haven’t really finished well,” Nordqvist said.
Michelle Wie eagled the par-5 18th to finish two strokes back at 3-under 69, tied with six others including defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Brittany Lang.
Inbee Park, who leads the money list and the player of the year rankings, had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 and was tied for 13th at 2-under 70.
American teenager Lexi Thompson, who won the LPGA Malaysia on Sunday for her second career title, shot a 71 and was tied for 17th.
Choi Na-yeon of South Korea, who won here in 2009 and 2010, was tied for 18th after a 71.
Since the tournament’s first year in 2002, a South Korean has successfully taken home the title seven out of the 11 years.