Three-way tie for Drive on Championship lead

Three-way tie for Drive on Championship lead

GOLD CANYON, Ariz. — Alison Lee and Jenny Shin each reeled off four straight birdies in the middle of their rounds and joined Gaby Lopez at 7-under 65 Thursday to share a one-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Drive on Championship.

Lee, a 28-year-old American looking for her first tour win, birdied four of her first five holes and, after a bogey at No. 16, her seventh hole. She pieced together a four straight birdies and five in the next six holes to reach 8 under at Superstition Mountain Golf Club before a bogey on her final hole dropped her into a three-way tie for the top spot of a crowded leaderboard.

Shin, a 30-year-old from South Korea looking for her first win since 2016, posted seven birdies from Nos. 8 through 18 to earn a share of the lead in the tour’s first full-field event of the season.

Lopez had a bogey-free round. The 29-year-old Mexican started on the back nine and made the turn at 4-under par before adding three birdies on the front side to tie for the lead.

Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff were tied for fourth after opening 66s. Ten players are tied for sixth place at 5 under, as 114 golfers in the 142-player field carded a score of even par or better.

No. 2-ranked Nelly Korda and No. 3-ranked Jin Young Ko opened with a 2-under 70s. Ko was a winner two weeks ago in Singapore, where she beat Korda by two strokes.

The event will debut the LPGA’s new cut policy. The cut after 36 holes will include the top 65 players and ties advancing to the weekend. Previously, the top 70 players and ties advanced to the final rounds.

Game notes
Top-ranked Lydia Ko is not competing in the event. … Defending champion Leona Maguire was in a logjam of players at 2-under 70. … Danielle Kang withdrew from the event after 14 holes. She was at 2 over at the time. No reason was immediately given for Kang’s withdrawal.

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