LPGA Lotte Championship: South Korean trio lead in Hawaii

Last Updated: 17/04/14 10:10am

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So Yeon Ryu: One of three South Korean women at the top of the Lotte leaderboard

So Yeon Ryu: One of three South Korean women at the top of the Lotte leaderboard

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South Korean trio So Yeon Ryu, Se Ri Pak and Hyo Joo Kim all shot an opening round four-under 68 to take an early lead in the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

The 2012 LPGA Rookie of the Year Ryu, 23, birdied three of the first five holes but only two of the following 13, with her sole dropped shot coming at the par-three eighth.

"The wind was pretty strong, so it was really hard to play with this much strong wind," Ryu said. "The most difficult part was sometimes the wind gust is super extremely strong, so also it was affecting the putting."

The highlight of 36-year-old Pak's round was an eagle at the fifth, which took her to three under after birdieing the first hole.

She also dropped a shot at the eighth before picking up further birdies on the 13th and 17th holes.

"I feel great and I make some more putts that I'm supposed to make, so that's giving more momentum as we walk to the next hole. That helps a lot," she said.

Kim, the 2012 China Ladies Open champion, looked on course to take sole lead of the tournament after a birdie on the eighth - the penultimate hole of her round - left her five under.

However, she bogeyed the par-four ninth to leave her joint-top of the leaderboard along with her compatriots.

Three other South Korean's fill out the top 10, with Inbee Park, So Young Lee and Ha Na Jang all tied for fifth on two under, a shot behind second-placed Ayako Uehara.

American Michelle Wie, playing in her home state, also carded a two-under 70.

The highest-placed Briton is England's Karen Stupples, who registered three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in a round of 74 to lie joint 40th.

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