Taipei - England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot a sparkling
seven-under-par 65 to lead the LPGA Taiwan Championship by two shots on
Thursday, raising hopes of her first victory on the tour.
Nelly Korda of America and South Korea's Kang Hae-ji were
tied for second at the par-72 Ta Shee Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan.
No players from China are at the tournament after Feng
Shanshan and Liu Yu pulled out without explanation, raising the possibility
that tensions with Beijing may have spilled over into the sporting arena.
Organisers from the LPGA Taiwan confirmed the players
"withdrew their registration" but did not say when or why they made
Relations have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen of
Taiwan's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office two
years ago. Beijing regards the self-ruled island as a renegade province.
In July, Taiwan was stripped of hosting rights for the 2019
East Asian Youth Games, a move which sports officials blamed on Beijing's anger
over calls for a referendum to compete at the Olympics as 'Taiwan', rather than
the Beijing-mandated 'Chinese Taipei'.
Leading scores after round one of the LPGA Taiwan Championship at par-72 Ta Shee Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan on Thursday:
65 - Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG)
67 - Kang Haeji (KOR), Nelly Korda (USA)
68 - Lee Jeong-Eun (KOR), Ryu So Yeon (KOR), Moriya Jutanugarn (THA), Ally McDonald (USA), Hsu Wei-ling Hsu (TPE)
69 - Carlota Ciganda (ESP), Ayako Uehara (JPN), Megan Khang (USA), Yi Chen Liu (TPE)
70 - Brooke Henderson (CAN), Kim Sei-young (KOR), Chella Choi (KOR), Ji Eun-hee (KOR), Madelene Sagstrom (SWE), Jennifer Song (USA), Annie Park (USA), Jacqui Concolino (USA), Bronte Law (ENG), Yu Chiang Hou (TPE)