By Jugjet Singh
ILHEE LEE of South Korea grabbed the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) by its horns when she returned seven under par 64 to lead after day one of the LPGA Malaysian Sime Darby yesterday.
It was hot and humid, but the Korean belle was even hotter starting on the first hole when she avoided the bogies, and picked up birdies on the first, seventh, ninth, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th.
And she was only trying to play a three-under game: "My goal coming into this tournament was to play three-under ever day, and looks like I overdid myself with seven."
The Korean finished joint-16th last year, and is no stranger to the course.
"Now that I have the lead, and also overdid my target for each day, I feel much more relaxed and it might just turn out to be a wondeful tournament for me if I keep up the momentum," said Ilhee.
Brittany Lang of the United States was heading for a tie with the leader, but bogied the last hole to finish six-under 65.
The lanky lady started on the 10th tee by sinking four birdies in a row, and then nailed another three on the 15th, 16th and first. The only blemish was on the final hole of the day.
"I went out and enjoyed myself and I also like this course very much because if you hit the fairway regularly, the score will follow.
"And after starting with four birdies, I had a wonderful time on the course, but pushed too hard in the final and lost a shot.
"But I'm not too disturbed by that (bogey) and after a good night's rest, I think I need to take in more fluids in the second round as it was really humid out there," said Brittany.
Standing at 5'8" Brittany has hit three holes-in-one in her career. Her first was a 7-iron from 106 yards off her very first golf tournament when she was 10. She won the tournament because she was the only female competing.
The leaderboard is cluttered with four golfers tied at joint-third on five-under 66, making the second round a much more challenging day.
Beatriz Recari of Spain, Paula Creamer of the US, Jodi Ewart of Scotland and Ji Eun-Hee of South Korea share the clutterd joint third.
Rolex Rankings No 2 Suzann Pettersen was adrift on tied-seventh on four-under 67 with seven other ladies.
World No 1 Inbee Park of South Korea, seeking to defend a title for the first time in her career, had a disappointing one-under 70 to be joint 28th. The 72-hole tournament does not have a cut.