(Reuters) – Michelle Wie took advantage of mild early conditions to storm into the lead at the Women’s British Open with a course record eight-under-par 64 at Kingsbarns Golf Links on Thursday.
The American overcame a shaky start after bogeying the par-five second, making gains on the fourth, sixth and eighth to turn in two-under, before scorching the back nine with six more birdies to better the 65 set by China’s Xiyu Lin in 2013.
The 27-year-old, who closed with three birdies in a row, leads South Korean Kim In-kyung by a shot going into day two, with fellow American Lindy Duncan a stroke further behind in third place.
“That start got me a bit annoyed for a while but it was fun out there,” Honolulu-born Wie told reporters. “Any time you shoot a 64 on a course like Kingsbarns, you’ve got to be happy.
“I’m really proud of myself for taking advantage of the conditions this morning,” add the injury-prone Wie, whose last victory came at the 2014 U.S. Open.
South Korea’s Chella Choi, Britons Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Mel Reid, Dutchwoman Anne van Dam, and Americans Marissa Steen and Lexi Thomson were tied in fourth place on the packed leaderboard at five-under.
Kim started strongly with five birdies in her first eight holes but slowed after the turn, with three birdies offset by a single bogey as the rising wind began to have an impact.
“The wind was picking up on the back nine but the scenery is so pretty it’s hard to focus on your game,” she said, after ending her round on 65 just before the first of two weather delays due to the threat of thunder and lightning.
(Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)