LPGA: Arpichaya Yubol fires 61, leads ShopRite LPGA Classic

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Arpichaya Yubol of Thailand fired a 10-under 61 to tie the course record at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course, establishing a two-shot lead after one round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Friday in Galloway, N.J.

Yubol rode a hot stretch in the middle of her round to the low number, but South Korea’s Jenny Shin is on her tail in second place after an 8-under 63. Fellow Korean Narin An is in third after a 64.

Yubol was having a dismal second year on the LPGA Tour with a streak of six straight missed cuts before last week’s U.S. Women’s Open, where she went 68-69 on the weekend for a surprising fifth-place finish.

Now the 22-year-old is in command at this weekend’s 54-hole event.

“I feel like I just start to play golf, like happy golf, like every hole,” Yubol said. “Because I feel like my (confidence) is coming back from last week in the U.S. Women. It was the greatest week in my life and then it’s make me more confident for this week.”

Yubol started her day on the back nine and made four straight pars before a birdie at the par-4 14th opened the floodgates. It was the first of four consecutive birdies, and she chipped in for eagle at the par-5 18th to make it a 6-under stretch.

She added four birdies on her front nine, with a long, downhill putt falling for birdie at the par-3 seventh. That made 59 a possibility before she finished with two pars.

“I (shot) 10 under one time in my life, like in Thailand, but it’s not a big tournament like this,” Yubol said. “And it is my second time in my life. Actually, I tried to go birdie on the last hole because I try to get the new record for me. Like I can do 11. But I missed the putt like a little bit.”

Shin racked up nine birdies with just one bogey on Friday and was relieved to be playing a more scoreable course than last week’s setup at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“Wasn’t as mentally taxing as the last 10 days,” Shin said. “And the fact that I’ve been here so many years, just the familiarity and, you know, familiar crowds as well.”

An was 1 under through her first 10 holes before sinking six birdies from Nos. 2-9 to shoot up the leaderboard.

Brittany Lincicome, 38, is part of a tie for fourth after shooting a bogey-free, 6-under 65. Lincicome won the tournament in 2011 and is glad to be back in a familiar place.

“Both my girls are here. We have a great time,” Lincicome said. “We are staying down in Ocean City. We go to this amusement park on the Boardwalk almost every night and spend so much money just to let them ride rides.”

Also tied at 65 are Megan Khang, Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela, Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu, Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou and South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee5.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa opened with a 4-under 67. Japan’s Yuka Saso, last week’s winner at the U.S. Women’s Open, shot a 2-under 69.

–Field Level Media

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