KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Lydia Ko fired a 64 for her best opening round of the year to lead the LPGA Tour’s Sime Darby event at 7 under on Thursday, and is hoping her best start will lead to her first title of 2017.
The former No. 1-ranked Ko is one shot ahead of Su Oh and two ahead of defending champion and two-time winner Feng Shanshan, Madelene Sagstrom and Eun Hee-Ji, who won by six strokes in Taiwan last week for her first LPGA Tour title since 2009.
“Today I tried to be positive and as confident as I can,” said Ko, who finished second in Taiwan last week. “I think playing well last week really gave me good momentum going into today.”
Ko opened with a birdie, one of seven in an unblemished round on the par 71, 6,246-yard course at the TPC Kuala Lumpur.
“Made a string of birdies late in my front nine and I was able to keep that momentum going into the back nine,” she said.
Ko has three top-10 finishes since September, and 10 overall this year.
No. 6-ranked Feng, who has been runner-up here twice along with her victories in 2014 and ’16, said her ball striking was “super” but she missed some birdie chances.
“I think that means maybe I can still make more over the weekend,” she said, “I think it’s a good start.”
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., sits tied for 20th after opening at 1 under par.