Lee So-young out in front after Day 1 of E1 Charity Open
With almost no wind blowing on the first day, Lee shot a bogey-free round of seven under-par, 65, to take the sole lead after the first round. Lee, who teed off from the 10th hole, got off to an impressive start with three straight birdies. Then, by adding another on the par-3 14th, she finished her first nine holes at four under-par, 32.
Heading into the second half of her round, Lee continued to show strong form, adding three more birdies — on the par-4 first, par-3 fifth and the par-4 ninth — to finish her day with a two-shot lead in the field.
A total of five golfers trail Lee in second at five under-par. A total of seven players follow tied for the seventh place spot at four under-par, 68, just one shot behind the runners-up.
Defending champion Lim Eun-bin shot one under-par, 71, to start off her day. Last year, Lim’s victory was an impressive one as it took her until a fourth sudden-death playoff hole to pick up the trophy.
Looking at other notable KLPGA Tour players, Choi Hye-jin shot three under-par, 69, while Jang Ha-na shot four under-par, 68, to start off Day 1 of the tournament. Cho A-yean, who was named the rookie of the year last season, shot two under-par, 70.
Park Hyun-kyung, who picked up her first KLPGA Tour victory at the KLPGA Championship on May 17, hoped for a second straight win, but so far in the first round it doesn’t seem likely as she shot five over-par, 77, way below the projected cut line.
Since the LPGA Tour or the LPGA Tour of Japan (JLPGA) still hasn’t announced the exact re-start date of the season, once again, the field featured some LPGA and JLPGA Tour players this weekend.
Among the LPGA Tour golfers, world No. 10 Lee Jeong-eun got off to the best start by starting the weekend with a round of five under-par, 67.
Throughout her round, Lee made seven birdies and a bogey. Lee is among the five golfers tied for second. Kim Hyo-joo didn’t get off to the best start as she shot two over par, 74, on the first day. During the KLPGA Championship, Kim made headlines for playing through all her rounds while wearing a mask.
While all the caddies were required to wear gloves and masks throughout the round, players weren't required to wear their masks while playing. However, Kim kept her mask on.
Bae Seon-woo, who started playing on the JLPGA Tour last season, also didn’t have the best start as she shot a round of two over-par, 74, on the first day. Bae won this tournament back in 2016, which was also her first victory on the KLPGA Tour.
The three golfers are competing in the tournament as invited players.
World No. 6 Kim Sei-young was originally scheduled to compete this weekend but due to wrist pain, she announced her withdrawal from the tournament on Wednesday.
The 8th E1 Charity Open is the second KLPGA Tour event being held in Korea for the 2019-20 season. The season opener was the Hyosung Championship with SBS Golf, previously held in Vietnam back in December, 2019.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the KLPGA also had to pause its season. The Tour restarted its season on May 14, with a major tournament, the 42nd KLPGA Championship. Just like the KBO and the K League, the KLPGA is also playing without fans.
The KLPGA Championship and this week’s tournaments are being played in absolute silence, as no fans are allowed into the course. Although golf is a silent sport, the players still expressed their disappointment in not being able to play in front of their supporters.
The tournament was originally scheduled as a 54-hole, three-day tournament, but has been rescheduled to a 72-hole, four-day tournament. Featuring a total of 144 players, there will be a cut after the second round so only the top 60 players, or the players tied for 60th in the standing, will play through the weekend. Of the 144 players, 34 are rookies.
In terms of prize money, the tournament will have a total of 800 million won ($645,000), with the champion taking home 160 million won.
The second round will once again start in the early morning, with the very first group teeing off at 6:50 a.m., starting from the first and the 10th holes.
BY KANG YOO-RIM [email@example.com]