Mika Miyazato takes advantage after opening-day washout


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The Independent Online

Japan’s Mika Miyazato yesterday claimed a one-shot lead in the Evian Championship after the first round of the inaugural fifth major of the season on the LPGA Tour was finally completed a day late.

The first day’s play was washed out by torrential rain on Thursday, with only 15 players making it out on to the course before subsequently having their scores wiped out.

Conditions were far better in south-east France yesterday and Miyazato took advantage with a round containing seven birdies and just one bogey to finish ahead of five-time major winner Se Ri Pak, Germany’s Sandra Gal and Norway’s Suzann Pettersen.

Solheim Cup star Pettersen looked set to share the lead when she picked up four birdies on the back nine to reach six under, but missed from two feet for par on the 18th.

Gal, who was overlooked for a wild card for Europe’s victory in Colorado by captain Liselotte Neumann, said: “I’m very excited, I’ve been playing well the last couple of months and it’s nice to do that in a major.

“I putted quite nicely but to be honest I didn’t have too many crazy long putts, I think I hit it fairly close to the pin and that’s the key to this course, that you can hit it on the right tier.

“It can be challenging but I think it’s incredible what they did to this course in just nine months, I think it’s a miracle that we’re playing. Sure, the course needs a bit of maturing for next year, but we are very excited to be playing.”

New Zealand’s teenager amateur Lydia Ko, who could become the youngest-ever winner of a major this week, posted a three-under-par 68 that was matched by American Michelle Wie and Australia’s Karrie Webb.

However, South Korean Inbee Park’s bid to become the first player in history to win four major titles in one year got off to a poor start as she struggled to a three-over-par 74, while British teenage sensation Charley Hull also shot a 74.

Meanwhile, three-time champion Simon Dyson equalled his own course record in the KLM Open, but still found himself trailing Spanish duo Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal in Zandvoort.

Dyson carded a seven-under-par 63 at Kennemer Golf Club, matching the record held by himself and four other players since 2009, to record a halfway total of eight under par, one behind Jimenez and Larrazabal.