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Winds slow down Yuka, Bianca

‘It was quite a shock because the last three days we’ve been out here it’s been super calm and warm,’ American Jessica Korda told the Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie. ‘It’s like the three practice rounds we played were absolutely worthless’

Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan battled stiff winds to submit rounds of 73 and 75, respectively in The Ascendant LPGA Benefiting Volunteers of America Championship in The Colony, Texas Thursday.

With the winds forcing players to be creative off the tee, the two Filipinas missed a combined 17 greens.

“It was quite a shock because the last three days we’ve been out here it’s been super calm and warm,” American Jessica Korda told the Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie. “It’s like the three practice rounds we played were absolutely worthless.”
Korda opened with two-under-par 69 at the Old American Golf Club.

Her sister, world No. 2 Nelly Korda, finished on 75.

Saso had an early tee time and started at the back, making back-to-back birdies from 13 only to give them back with a double bogey on 16. On her way home, she collected bogeys on 2 and 7.

Pagdanganan, still shaking off jet lag following a brief visit to the Philippines, did not make a single birdie while making bogeys on 2, 24, 14, and 18.

Meanwhile, China’s Lin Xiyu grabbed a one-shot lead from in-form Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul.

Lin fired a six-under-par 65 to head the field at The Colony Golf Club, north of Dallas, in a low-scoring first round.

The 26-year-old from Guangzhou, chasing her first win on the US LPGA Tour, vaulted into the lead with a brilliant eagle on the par-five 17th hole that took her to six under.

Lin’s round included five birdies, with the lone blemish a bogey on the par-four fourth.

The 19-year-old Atthaya, meanwhile, coming off her second LPGA Tour victory at the NW Arkansas Championship last weekend, had to settle for a five-under-par 66 after a bogey on her final hole of the day.

Teeing off on the back nine, Atthaya surged up the leaderboard with a hat-trick of birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to make the turn at four under.

Two more birdies on the first and eighth holes left her at six under, before a bogey on the ninth dropped her down to a share of second alongside Lizette Salas, who also posted a five-under-par 66.

England’s Charley Hull, Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, Canada’s Maddie Szeryk and American Lexi Thompson were tied a further shot back on four under after shooting 67s.

Thompson had seemed set for share of second place but saw an otherwise flawless round spoiled with a bogey on her final hole.

Three players, including Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and France’s Celine Boutier were tied in eighth place after shooting three under 68s.

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