Melanie Singh leads after an encouraging first round

Melanie Singh started it off on a great note on her first round. She birdied her first two holes on the first day, before running out of steam. The 25-year-old from Cairns in Queensland, Australia began to find her form and walked away with an impressive 67. Yang Mingxia from Taiwan (yet another Aussie here this week) maintained her surge in the early stages of the day. But she followed it up with an ugly stretch of five bogeys in the next seven holes that all but took her out of contention.

One of the few consistent Aussies out there is Minjee Lee. The 20-year-old from Queensland in Australia put together an impressive first round. Lee started off with birdies on each of her first three holes. The fourth birdie was a surprise. She rolled in a 26-foot putt on her third hole, but most of the spectators thought she was hitting it well and had gone home. It was her lone birdie on the round and Lee walked away with a 1-under round of 70. It’s the kind of performance the LPGA Tour needs to start pulling out of its very good slump. She’s in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship field and she could win it next week. If she does, she’ll be very big news.

Besides Mel Singh, else had a really solid Thursday round. Eunjeong Ji from South Korea really put in work. Ji hit on all four of her fairways to begin her day. She was 3 under through her first eight holes. Then came a nightmare stretch of five bogeys in a row. After a miserable fourth hole, she walked away with a miserable round of 77.

Current overnight leader Jenny Shin of South Korea was leading Lee just before Shin slipped up. She had been cruising through the first nine holes and, when she hit her tee shot on the par-3 ninth, it was answered with a great putt for birdie. She bogeyed the 10th hole though, after a wayward drive. That left her out in front by three strokes. She stepped up on the par-5 11th and birdied that one, but bogeyed the par-3 12th and made up her deficit with a birdie on the 13th. That left her just three strokes ahead of Lee at the turn.

Shin wouldn’t last long. The Georgia Tech alum made three bogeys in her last six holes and had to settle for a 1-over round of 72, leaving her in a tie for eighth. She’s likely to be a tough opponent to win it as well. Shin has already won this event, too. She’s been contending in the U.S. Women’s Open for the last two years and will be more than ready to compete in a championship event again.

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