Beth Bader leads at LPGA Lotte golf championship

19 Apr 2012 08:16:52

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Beth Bader fired a four-under par 68 to seize a one-shot lead over a quartet of players, including Taiwan's Yani Tseng, at the inaugural LPGA Lotte Championship.

Bader, without a victory in 13 LPGA Tour seasons, teed off on 10 and had five birdies -- including three in a row from the par-five fifth -- before closing with a bogey at the par-four ninth at Ko Olina, where winds gusted up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).

Tseng, the world number one who has won three of the first six LPGA Tour events this season, was in a group sharing second on 69 that also included South Korean star Jiyai Shin, HSBC Champions winner Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang.

South Korea's Sun Young Yoo, coming off a playoff victory over compatriot I.K. Kim on April 1 in the Kraft Nabisco, the first women's major of the year, led a group of six players on two-under 70.

Kim, who missed a one-foot putt on the final hole of regulation that would have given her the victory in the Kraft Nabisco, posted a 71.

Bader, ranked 401st in the world, is making her first LPGA start of 2012.

"It feels good," said Bader, who said she'd played on the lower rung Grasshopper Tour to sharpen her game.

"Been awhile since I've been here. Been awhile since I actually teed it up in an event," Bader said. "But it's good."

Tseng said solid putting helped her score well in the difficult, windy conditions.

"Overall, I stayed patient and I made lots of good putts," Tseng said. "I still missed some, but I hung in there.

"It's only first day of the tournament, so I'm pretty happy today. Still on the leaderboard, still can see my name up there, so very happy."

Tseng was rolling on the front nine with a birdie at the par-five fifth and three successive birdies from the seventh.

But she lost momentum with back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11.

"I hit it in the water on No. 10, so made bogey there," Tseng said. "I made another bogey on No. 11, kind of a short hole."

She a tough 12-footer for par at 12 was key.

"I think that's the big turning point for today. If I make another bogey, I don't know what's going to happen. But I saved par there and made birdie the next hole, so it's a good turn for me."

Stanford also bogeyed her last hole. However, she remained pleased with her day and said she was buoyed by her memories of her victory in the 2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay -- the last LPGA Tour event played in Hawaii.

"I love Hawaii. I love being here," Stanford said. "I love just the atmosphere, the people. It is always windy, usually, so I'm just comfortable."

The 72-hole tournament will end Saturday, timed to allow for the final round to be broadcast on Sunday morning in Asia and on Saturday evening's prime time viewing period on America's East Coast.

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