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Chella Choi leads LPGA Championship by 1
Pittsford, New York (Sports Network) - Chella Choi shot 5-under 67 on Friday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead through the first round of the rainy LPGA Championship, the tour's second major of the season.
Rain continued to fall on Friday after Thursday's opening round was washed out before a single golfer teed off. Officials plan to play 18 holes on Saturday and 36 on Sunday.
Choi, who is seeking her first LPGA Tour win, highlighted her opening round with an outward 30 at Locust Hill Country Club and ended 18 holes a stroke ahead of world No. 9 Jiyai Shin and Morgan Pressel.
"I hit a really good driver today," said Choi. "I hit 14 fairways. So I'm really happy. My goal is just keep (it in the) fairway."
Brittany Lincicome, who played in the same group as Pressel, is alone in fourth place after firing a 3-under 69, while Jessica Korda and Se Ri Pak share fifth at 2-under 70.
Lexi Thompson, Angela Stanford, Catriona Matthew, Laura Davies, Ilhee Lee, Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Mi Jung Hur and Chie Arimura all shot 71.
Four of the top-5 players in the world shot even-par in the opening round, led by top-ranked Inbee Park, who won the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, in April. Na Yeon Choi, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng, ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, also carded 72s. Tseng recorded a hole-in-one on the 140-yard par-3 15th.
World No. 2 Stacy Lewis and defending champion Shanshan Feng both stumbled to 74s on Friday.
Pressel held the clubhouse lead for much of the day.
The American had an up-and-down start with three birdies and three bogeys through her first 12 holes, but she closed with four consecutive birdies to vault into the top spot at 4-under.
"I played pretty well out there," said Pressel. "I didn't put myself really in any bad trouble which you can certainly find on this golf course. I hit a lot of fairways, which you need to do. I only missed I think two or three maybe, and the couple that I did, I most of the time saved par."
Pressel's lead didn't last, however, as Chella Choi stormed out of the gate with a flawless opening nine, which featured five birdies, including two straight from both the fourth and the seventh.
Around the turn, the fifth-year pro added another birdie at the 10th to reach 6-under before tripping to a bogey at the par-4 13th. She parred out to stay at minus-5.
NOTES: Choi's best career finish on the LPGA Tour came at the 2012 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, where she tied for second after a playoff. She turned pro in 2008 ... Park is aiming for her fourth LPGA title of 2013 and third career major championship. If she wins this week, she will have three of the four legs of the career Grand Slam ... Last year, Feng became the first golfer, male or female, from mainland China to win a major championship.
06/07 21:00:05 ET
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