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Inbee Park leads by one in Singapore

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South Korea’s Inbee Park opened with an 8-under 64 to take the first-round lead at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore on Thursday.

Playing in sweltering heat on the New Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, Park finished with four birdies on the front and four more on the back nine to establish a one-shot lead.

“I hit a lot of great shots but probably left myself a lot of 10- to 15-footers, and I was able to make most of them, which has been the difference this year,” said Park.

“You know, holing putts when you need to hole, especially ten to 15-footers, so those percentage the last few years wasn’t that great but this year has been a little better. So I think that really paid off today.”

Park, going for her third title in the event, leads fellow South Korean Hee Young Park, who shot a 7-under 65.

“I just tried to survive with this heat in Singapore, which is — I love it, but after played the front nine, I had a good moment on No. 10. Made a eagle,” said Hee Young Park. “Then really makes everything easier, less pressure and then I played with nice people, nice girls today and we tried to have fun with this hot weather.”

Germany’s Sophia Popov and Caroline Masson, China’s Lin Xiyu, and South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim are all tied two strokes back at 5-under 67.

Popov, the 2019 AIG Women’s Open winner, is making her first-ever start in the event.

“It’s definitely been a very cool experience for me. I think I’ve watched this tournament over the years and saw the other girls playing and I was never able to qualify for it,” said Popov.

Gi Hyeob Nam, Inbee Park’s husband, is caddying for her this week due to restrictions on guests for the players due to COVID-19.

“I think I’m going to give him ten and probably ten for the rest of the week because I’m really thankful that he’s doing this for me and in this heat,” said Inbee Park. “It’s very tough conditions. I’m just really thankful that he’s carrying the bag. I don’t need an exact number. I don’t need anything. I just need him next to me, that’s all, just carrying the bag.”

–Field Level Media

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