Davies Opens in 78 in Asia

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CHEONAN, South Korea (AP) -- Competing against men on the Asian PGA Tour, Laura Davies made one birdie and put two shots in the water en route to a 6-over 78 Thursday, tying for 87th place after the Korean Open's first round.
 
'I am disappointed,' Davies said. 'I putted very well, and I drove it OK. But I hit two drivers into the water, which was a shame.'
 
The first sign of trouble came on the 424-yard, par-4 14th -- the fifth hole of her round -- when she drove her tee shot into a water hazard and had a double bogey.
 
But the four-time LPGA Tour major winner put a 4-iron within 15 feet of the pin on the 226-yard, par-3 16th, then sank the downhill putt for her lone birdie.
 
'The most difficult thing is the pin position,' she said. 'The golf course ... I didn't find too long, but the pin positions were impossible.'
 
Davies again found the water on the eighth hole with her 280-yard drive on the 538-yard, par-5 hole.
 
'I must have been aiming about 5 yards too far left, and it never came back,' she said. 'Maybe just a bad alignment, but it was a good play.'
 
Ted Oh of South Korea, who has two wins on the Korean circuit this year, fired a 5-under 67 to take the overnight lead.
 
With 14 players unable to finish the opening round because of fading light, Davies tied for 87th among 127 players who did play 18 holes.
 
She was confident of a big improvement in the second round.
 
'I feel I could shoot a good round because I putted very well, and that's usually the worst part for me,' she said. 'If can hit all the fairways ... and hit some good irons and make a few putts, then who knows?'
 
With 64 wins around the world, Davies is the fifth longest-hitter on the LPGA Tour with an average driving distance of 267.2 yards.
 
Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour when she missed the cut at the Colonial. Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley (also PGA Tour) and 13-year-old amateur Michelle Wie (Nationwide Tour) also played against men this year.
 
Davies has plenty of support.
 
'She hung in there, and I hope both of us score better tomorrow,' said 1995 British Open champion John Daly, who shot a 73 playing with Davies and South Korea's S.K. Ho (75).
 
'It's difficult for her, because she's not used to playing where we played from,' Daly added. 'Usually they play their ladies' tees.'
 
Justin Rose expressed a bit more optimism for Davies.
 
'I think the cut would be ... maybe 5, 6 over or something like that,' he said. 'So she has a chance, I think.'
 
Rose carded a 76.
 
'I've never seen pin placements like that before. It was amazing,' he said.
 
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