New York - China's Feng Shanshan fired a bogey-free
six-under-par 66 Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead over South Korean Amy Yang
early in the opening round of the US Women's Open.
Sixth-ranked Feng, seeking her second major crown after the
2012 LPGA Championship, had two runs of three consecutive birdies to seize
command at the third major championship of the LPGA season - where an afternoon
rain delay saw play halted by darkness with the first round unfinished.
The event is being staged at US President Donald Trump's
golf resort, Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, with protests possible
and the US Golf Association already under fire for failing to move the richest
tournament in women's golf after Trump's controversial comments about women
during his presidential campaign.
When the shot making started on Thursday, the focus was on
capturing a major crown and Feng fared best, starting on the back nine and
making birdies on the par-4 11th, 12th and 13th holes.
She followed with another treble birdie run at the par-4
17th and par-5 18th and first holes, then closed her morning round with eight
"I started the round really solidly. I had three
birdies in the first four holes," Feng said.
"After that I felt comfortable about everything because
my ball striking has been pretty good, but I was struggling a little bit about
"I made a little bit (of an) adjustment with my coach
after I got here on putting. Then I'm rolling the ball into the holes now. I'm
really happy about the round, 66. That's my low score in US Open ever so
hopefully I can keep it going."
Feng admitted she felt like she could have scored even
"Everything was great today," she said. "I
think I left some out there for maybe the weekend. Can't make them all on the
first day, right?"
Yang, ranked ninth, shared fourth in last month's Women's
PGA Championship, her 16th top-10 major finish without a victory.
Yang went birdie-bogey at the par-3 fourth and par-4 fifth,
then closed the front nine birdie-bogey, but got hot on the back side with
back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11, again at the par-3 14th and par-5 15th and closed
with a birdie also.
"I started the round a little slow," Yang said.
"I wasn't that comfortable over the ball so I had to do a lot of long
putts and it was just little hard to make a birdie.
"But I was out there just being patient and I started
get some good momentum going on the back nine, putting worked really well on
the back nine."
World number one Ryu So Yeon of South Korea and New
Zealand's fourth-ranked Lydia Ko shared third on 68.
Ryu, the 2011 US Women's Open winner who took her second major
at this year's ANA Inspiration and won last month in Arkansas to take the top
ranking spot, had a bogey-free round. She birdied the fifth and sixth, added
another at the par-5 eighth and her last at the 11th.
Ko, who began off the 10th tee, birdied five of her first 10
holes and added her last at the par-3 fourth but bogeys at the fifth and ninth
dropped her off Feng's pace.
Ko is seeking a third major win after taking the 2015 Evian
Championship and 2016 ANA Inspiration.
Leading partial scores in the weather-disrupted first round of the US Women's Open at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday (USA unless noted, a-denotes amateur. Round halted by darkness, to resume Friday):
66 - Feng Shanshan (CHN)
67 - Amy Yang (KOR)
68 - Lydia Ko (NZL), Ryu So-Yeon (KOR),
69 - Minjee Lee (AUS), Cristie Kerr, Kim Sei-Young (KOR), a-Choi Hye-Jin (KOR), Megan Khang, Lee Jeong-Eun6 (KOR)
70 - Ashleigh Buhai (RSA), Brooke Henderson (CAN), Bae Seon-Woo (KOR), Chun In-Gee (KOR), Lee Mi-Rim Lee, Katherine Kirk (AUS), Supamas Sangchan (THA), a-Bailey Tardy, Suzann Pettersen (NOR), Angela Stanford, Lee Mi-Hyang (KOR)
71 - Jenny Shin (KOR), Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Lizette Salas, Hur Mi-Jung (KOR), Haru Nomura (JPN), Moriya Jutanugarn (THA), Ally McDonald, Yan Jing (CHN), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG), Kim Min-Sun (KOR), Morgan Pressel, Su Oh (AUS)