China’s Ruixin Liu shot a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 to lead by one stroke Thursday after the first round of the Kroger Queen City Championship in Cincinnati.
Liu had withdrawn because of evere allergies after a first-round 72 last week of the LPGA Tour’s Portland (Ore.) Classic. She said Thursday she was feeling somewhat better at Kenwood Country Club’s Kendale Course.
“I’m still a little not clear today,” Liu said. “I don’t know how I did this good, but it (happened) and I’m very happy to take it.”
Liu carded birdies at Nos. 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 13. She credited her putter “just rolling great” until difficulty at the par-5 No. 12, where she settled for par.
“That’s the only bad hole I played today because my second shot was only like 18 feet to the hole for eagle and I three-putt that one,” Liu said. “So that’s the only not-so-good hole today.”
Four players are tied for second place at 6-under 66: Taiwain’s Peiyun Chien, Elizabeth Szokol, Dottie Ardina of the Philippines and Sweden’s Linnea Strom. Szokol was bogey free, while the other three each had one bogey blemishing their scorecards.
“I’m hitting it a lot better off the tee, which is great,” Szokol said. “I hit a lot of fairways today. I think I only missed one fairway, so just giving myself a lot of opportunities for good wedge shots in and iron shots in, and that’s helped a lot.”
Six players are in a pack at 5-under 67, including Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark and Charley Hull of England, who each got an eagle at No. 12 that Liu wanted.
“Just hit a nice drive, rescue wood onto the green, and holed like a 30-foot putt for my eagle,” Hull said.
Defending champion Ally Ewing shot 3-under 69 and is tied for 20th. Ewing had a relatively uneventful front nine with eight pars and a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole. She registered birdies at No. 12, 14 and 16, with a bogey at the par-4 No. 13 wedged in between.
First-round leader Liu was asked about her approach to the second round on Friday.
“Well, I don’t want to give myself too much expectation because physically I don’t feel great,” she said, “so I’m just going to take a good break, try to sleep good, and try to do the same thing tomorrow.”
–Field Level Media