Stacy Lewis is back in a familiar position atop another leaderboard.
With a bogey-free 6-under-par 65 Thursday, Lewis leads the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia after the first round. She’s one shot ahead of a quartet of South Koreans looking to give their country seven victories in the last eight LPGA events.
Lewis, seeking a tour-best fourth LPGA title this year, has now led or shared the lead in four of the five rounds played on the fall Asian swing. She was going for a wire-to-wire victory at the Reignwood Classic last week before being overtaken by Mirim Lee in the final round.
“I got off to a good start again,” Lewis told reporters in Malaysia after her round. “It was one of those rounds that early it was actually kind of shaky, had to make a few par putts on the first three holes, but really just kind of hung in there and gave myself a lot of birdie looks at it and was fortunate to make a few. So it was a little bit of an ugly round, but I got a lot out of it.”
Na Yeon Choi, Hee Young Park, Eun-Hee Ji and So Yeon Ryu are all one shot back of Lewis. Seven of the top 10 players on the leaderboard are South Koreans. After a sluggish start this year, the South Koreans are heating up, having won six of the last seven LPGA events, including the last three.
Choi moved in early position to win her first LPGA title in almost two years. The seven-time LPGA winner last won at the CME Group Titleholders in November of 2012. She won this event in Malaysia three years ago.
“Someone asked me, ‘How is your golf game going?,’ and I always say, ‘I'm ready.’ But especially, these days, my game is going really better,” Choi said. “I have a lot of confidence with my game.”