Jasmine Suwannapura of Thailand had seven birdies and an eagle for a 9-under 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the LPGA’s Maybank Championship at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.
Australian Hannah Green, the 2019 PGA Championship winner, was a stroke behind after a 64. Australian Grace Kim and Americans Rose Zhang and Gina Kim were among the players two strokes behind and tied for third after 65s.
Norway’s Emily Kristine Pedersen and Mexico’s Gaby Lopez were among those with 66s, three strokes behind in the tournament being held for the first time in Malaysia.
Lydia Ko shot 68 while Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson shot 69s.
The round began under sunny skies and hot conditions, but the weather turned cloudy and gray in the afternoon with thunderstorms leading to a significant delay after 54 players had completed their first round.
Eight groups and 32 players were left to complete the first round, and after 3 hours, 48 minutes, they were able to call it a day.
The 30-year-old Suwannapura teed off in the first group of the day off the 10th tee.
“Starting the first couple of holes, I tried to play kind of little safe … because I only played six holes for the practice round and got to walk on the back nine on pro-am day on the cart path, so I don’t really know the course,” Suwannapura said. “I feel like with low expectation today then the result come out really good. A lot of putts dropped for me, and it’s good feeling to start with a low score this week for sure.”
Suwannapura, a two-time LPGA winner, has the first-round lead or co-leader position for the third time in her career. She hit every fairway (14 of 14) in regulation.
Green birdied her final hole just before play was halted because of the storm.
“I actually didn’t realize how close it was getting until I walked back after looking at the green on my — for my third shot on the last,” Green said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I really don’t want to be stuck on the putting green with who knows how long of a delay.’ So it was nice for that putt to fall in, and obviously in good position for the tournament.”
This is the third of four LPGA events on the tour’s Asian swing. Australian Minjee Lee won last week’s South Korea stop in a playoff, and the final tournament is next week’s Toto Classic in Japan. Lee is not playing this week in Malaysia.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.