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Former UCLA star Alison Lee shoots 66 at breezy Wilshire to take LA Open lead

Former UCLA star Alison Lee shoots 66 at breezy Wilshire to take LA Open lead

LOS ANGELES — Alison Lee shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday afternoon at breezy Wilshire Nation Membership to take the first-round lead within the DIO Implant LA Open.

The resurgent former UCLA star had a bogey-free spherical in testing circumstances to begin the LPGA Tour’s two-week run within the Los Angeles space, with the Palos Verdes Championship subsequent week.

“I really feel actually comfy,” Lee mentioned. “I might say it isn’t a lot the course, however simply being in L.A., seeing a bunch of acquainted faces on the market. Generally whenever you play week to week it does get fairly lonely on the market. Whenever you come to an occasion and also you see folks that you simply acknowledge and you recognize and so they’re there to assist you and convey up and raise you up.”

Lee birdied the par-4 sixth and par-3 seventh on the entrance 9, then moved up the leaderboard with birdies on the par-3 twelfth, par-5 fifteenth and par-4 sixteenth. She saved par on the ultimate two holes, making a 6-footer on the par-4 seventeenth and blasting out of the entrance bunker for a tap-in on the par-3 18th.

“I would not say there’s any kind of secret weapon or secret that you should know to play this course,” Lee mentioned. “I might say it is somewhat little bit of every little thing. You might be challenged along with your tee pictures, along with your method pictures, even across the greens. Because it will get within the afternoon it does are likely to get somewhat extra bumpy. You simply want to remain affected person on the market.”

The 27-year-old American is making an attempt to win for the primary time on the LPGA Tour.

“There was a cut-off date the place I virtually wished to stop,” Lee mentioned. “Golf was simply so irritating for me. I felt misplaced. I did not know what I used to be doing proper. I did not know what I used to be doing fallacious. I simply felt like golf simply to me felt like a giant blah. To essentially see my onerous work repay – as a result of most of it for me was simply from a psychological perspective, psychological facet of it.”

Fellow afternoon starter Emma Talley and morning gamers Nasa Hataoka and Emily Kristine Pedersen had been a stroke again.

Talley had the lead at 5 beneath earlier than dropping again with a bogey on the par-4 eighth, her seventeenth gap of the day. The 28-year-old from Kentucky is winless on the tour. She received the 2013 U.S. Girls’s Beginner and took the 2015 NCAA particular person title at Alabama.

“I am hitting the ball very well proper now, and that goes a great distance, particularly when it is windy,” Talley mentioned.

Hataoka closed with a birdie on 18. The 23-year-old Japanese participant had seven birdies and three bogeys. She has 5 LPGA Tour victories, successful twice final season.

“Wilshire is just not a simple course,” Hataoka mentioned. “4 beneath is a reasonably good begin for me.”

Pedersen had 5 birdies and a bogey. The 23-year-old from Denmark is winless on the tour.

“I believe you want a little bit of confidence going into this course,” Pedersen mentioned. “There are a number of tight drives, a bit quirky pictures into the greens the place you actually must be on the precise angle and simply decide to the pictures.”

Sei Younger Kim and So Yeon Ryu had been at 68 with Jennifer Tune, Haylee Harford, Janie Jackson and Dewi Weber. All of them performed within the morning.

“A little bit windy on the again 9, so couple holes we took a protracted iron, simply making an attempt to make the par,” Kim mentioned. “It is not simple. It’s important to choose proper quantity after which it should be launch loads.”

High-ranked Jin Younger Ko had a 71 within the morning. Defending champion Brooke Henderson, enjoying alongside Ko, opened with a 76. She had a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth.

Patty Tavatanakit had a double bogey on No. 16 in a 73 within the afternoon.

Amy Olson aced the 130-yard 18th in a 75.

“We had wind heading off of the left and I type of threw my 8-iron up there, tried to attract it into the wind,” Olson mentioned. “It actually seemed good proper from the beginning. Proud of the great ending.”