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Park (65) leans on hot putter for fast start at Diamond Resorts

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Inbee Park wanted to get off to a fast start this season to build up world-ranking points for another run at an Olympic gold medal.

So far, so good.

Park opened the new season with a 6-under 65 at the LPGA’s Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. She’s two shots behind the leader, Danielle Kang.

With little offseason, Kang (63) off to hot start

With little time off between LPGA tour seasons, Danielle Kang takes the early lead at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions with a first-round 63.

“It was a great day, especially having a bogey-free round, especially being the first round of the year,” Park said.

While Park is a Hall of Famer and a seven-time major championship winner, she doesn’t typically get off to fast starts to the year. She didn’t make her first start until the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February last year. She’ll make four starts before that this year. She’s also committed to next week’s Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, the ISPS Handa Vic Open and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.


Full-field scores from the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions


The most promising sign to Park’s quick start Thursday was her putting. One of the game’s great putters, Park was frustrated with her stroke last year.

“I feel like my putting improved a bit compared to last year, so I'm happy with that,” Park said.

Park, 31, is looking for her 20th LPGA title. She was winless last year but is looking to change that as she seeks to qualify for the Olympics. She won the gold medal in women’s golf four years ago.