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Korda grabs early Blue Bay lead



Hainan Island, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Jessica Korda fired a first-round, 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the early lead at the inaugural Blue Bay LPGA.

Korda is a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, with two of those victories coming earlier this season at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and the Airbus LPGA Classic.

"It was really nice," Korda said. "I was hitting the ball pretty good and then I made some long putts, as well, off the green. I guess the putter was just hot on the front nine, so I took advantage of it."

There are a number of big names within one shot of the lead after one round at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course, including this year's U.S. Women's Open champion Michelle Wie and 2012 LPGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng. They are joined at 5-under 67 by Lee-Anne Pace, Caroline Masson, Brittany Lang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Caroline Hedwall, I.K. Kim, Chella Choi, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Cristie Kerr and Danielle Kang all finished the first round at 4-under 68. Seventeen-year- old Lydia Ko is among eight players who are tied for 14th after a first-round, 3-under 69.

Starting on the front nine, Korda exploded out of the gate with three straight birdies from No. 1, quickly getting her to minus-3. Following a pair of pars on four and five, Korda birdied two of her next three holes on six and eight. She closed out her front nine with a par on nine, making the turn at minus-5.

The back nine was routine for Korda as she wrapped eight pars around a birdie on 14 as she finished off her bogey-free, first-round 66.

Wie, making her second appearance in the last two weeks after she withdrew from her previous two events due to a hand injury, began her day on the right foot with a birdie on the first. She made four straight pars before making a birdie on six. Wie finished off her front nine with a pair of pars and a birdie on nine.

Wie ended her round strong with birdies on 14 and 18, which finished off her bogey-free first round and she is one shot back of the leader Korda.

"It felt really good. I missed a short one for birdie on 15. Missed a couple of birdie chances coming in," Wie said when asked about her birdie on 18. "It always feels good when the ball kind of circles the hole 360 and ends up going in. It was a fun round today."

Feng was slow on the front nine with a birdie on two to go along with eight pars. Feng made her move on the back nine as she made a birdie on 11 and three straight gains from No. 14. Feng closed things out with two pars on 17 and 18 to also complete a bogey-free round.

Masson also did not have a blemish on her scorecard as she made four birdies on the front nine at one, four, six and eight. She wrapped eight pars around a birdie on No. 16 to end at minus-5.

Pace, starting on the back nine, made birdies on 12, 14, 15 and 16. Pace tripped to her first bogey on No. 5, dropping her back to minus-3, but she responded with a pair of birdies on eight and nine to jump into a share of second place.

Lang fell below par early with a bogey on three, but she rebounded with three straight birdies from No. 4. Three birdies on the back nine at 10, 16 and 18 were enough to propel Lang into a tie for second as well.

Shadoff also fell behind early with a bogey on one, but five birdies in a seven-hole stretch from No. 3 had her rolling as she made the turn at minus-4. Another bogey on 10 was later canceled out with gains on 15 and 17, and just like that Shadoff was among five others in second place.

NOTES: Korda has four top-10 finishes this year, with two of those being victories ... Wie finished tied for fifth in her first event back at the LPGA KEB - HanaBank Championship last week after withdrawing from both the Meijer LPGA Classic and the Evian Championship ... Feng won two weeks ago at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and she has nine top-10 finishes this season.

10/23 12:15:39 ET

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