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Kang sets pace with opening-round 70
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 Haeji Kang of South Korea opened with a two under par 70 at Royal Liverpool

Haeji Kang of South Korea set the clubhouse lead with a two under 70 in the opening round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake.

Links expert Lydia Hall of Wales

The 21-year-old from Seoul was one ahead of six players on one under after a breezy morning of sunshine.

English amateur Charley Hull and Wales’ Lydia Hall were tied for second on 71 along with Australian pair Karrie Webb and Stacey Keating, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and South Korean Jiyai Shin.

World number one and defending champion Yani Tseng is part of a large group on level par 72 along with the 15-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko – the world’s top amateur.

Kang led despite a double bogey and two bogeys courtesy of six birdies, including four in six holes around the turn.

She said: “I started with a bogey but I managed myself out there, to stay calm. Especially in this kind of major, you have to be very patient.

“My iron shots were just inside 20 feet all the time, so I could just putt it out.”

Hull enjoyed a better day than her Irish caddie, Mark, whose motorbike was stolen from outside his Liverpool hotel overnight and had to catch a taxi to the course.

“He made it in plenty of time.  I didn't even know until he told me after the round,” said Hull, who went round the front nine in one under. She mixed two birdies at the second and fifth with a bogey on the eighth and was then level par on the back.

Teenage Briton Charley Hull

A member of the Great Britain and Ireland team that won the Curtis Cup against America earlier this summer, Hull plans to attend LET Tour School in December and turn professional.

This is her second major this year and she said that she felt more nervous playing at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she tied for 38th place.

The 16-year-old from Kettering, Northamptonshire, has played in four professional events this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, Ladies Irish Open and ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters and made the cut at each with a tie for fifth at National Golf Club in Turkey.

“I just pretend I'm out there playing with my mates,” she said.  “I know it's like a major but that's how I think of it.

“I enjoyed it out there.  It's a good challenge.  And when I go out there ‑‑ yeah, you have to hit it straight so you have to drive it pretty well.  I didn't drive it that great today but I still managed to hit fairways and I hit a lot of 3‑woods and rescues off the tee.

On liking tight and challenging courses, she added: “I come from Woburn and that's quite tight.  So that's probably I get it from.”

Three-time championship winner Karrie Webb was in the hunt and said that the key was hitting fairways.

Australian Stacey Keating

“I think that's huge this week, trying to keep it out of trouble, and you know, not get in too many of the bunkers or the long gorse or anything like that.  I did a good job of it today, and I have three more days to do it,” she said.

Fellow Australian Keating agreed that conditions were easy compared with earlier in the week.

“We teed off at like 8.30, so we had some really good conditions, I think it will be a different story tomorrow but I'm glad I made the most of it,” said the second year tour player.  “I hit in a pot bunker on the last and had to take my medicine and that's the way it goes.  I was happy with how the day went.”

Hall, who earned her maiden win as a professional at the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters three weeks ago, was using her links education to her best advantage.

“Lee and I were both brought up on links golf, and I've played this my whole career.  It's been my base where I've learnt how to play golf, so it's really nice to come up here,” Hall said.

“My home course was Royal Porthcawl, so I was there for about seven years and I'm now attached to Southerndown Golf Club and I have been for the last two years and that's where I do all my practise and have done for the last two years, and that's links with 50‑mile‑an‑hour winds on top.”

Catriona Matthew - the last British winner of the tournament at Royal Lytham in 2009 – is another strong links player and shot a 76.

 

 

 

 

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