• Kyodo

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Sakura Yokomine carded a 3-under-par 69 on Thursday to sit five shots off the lead after the first round of the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Yokomine mixed five birdies with two bogeys at the Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a relatively unknown venue, while American Christina Kim had a 64 to finish the day one-stroke shy of the course record and alone atop of the leaderboard.

“My tee shots were not that good but I was able to hold up with my bunker shots and approach play,” said Yokomine. “I was able to stay patient and play good golf.

“Recently my attention has been drawn too much to positions on the leaderboard, so I just focused on my play. I played each and every shot with care.”

Also for Japan, Ayako Uehara opened with a 72 to finish 33rd, while former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato, who missed out on qualification for the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this week, had a 73 and is in 49th place. Harukyo Nomura withdrew during the first round after feeling ill.

Kim, who had her best round of the season, holds a one-stroke lead over Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who is in excellent form and aiming for her third win in as many events on the LPGA Tour.

“It’s just a matter of being patient and not being necessarily too aggressive,” Kim told lpga.com. “There are certain holes where I was like, I can walk away with a par and I’ll be fine with that.

“Several par 5s were reachable, which I thought was a nice change to most of the tournaments we play on the LPGA Tour, and I think the officials did a great job of setting it up.”

Jutanugarn posted a bogey-free 65 in the first round.

“Today was a little bit windy on the back nine and I just had to control my ball flight today, and my tee shots were pretty good, my iron was good today,” Jutanugarn said. “I think today I made some (good) putts. I think it’s very hard to read the greens here because there are a lot of slopes.”

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