First Round Recap Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

Ilhee Lee
Photo Credit: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Ilhee Lee during the first round of the 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.

South Korea’s Ilhee Lee tied the tournament record and takes the first-round lead after carding a 7-under 64 at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Lee’s bogey-free, seven-birdie performance bested her low round of the year by three strokes. American Brittany Lang trails Lee by one shot and sits in solo second at 6-under par. A group of four players are in a tie for third at 5-under par including No. 11 Paula Creamer, European Solheim Cup team members Beatriz Recari and Jodi Ewart Shadoff and South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji.

Lee, who became a Rolex First-Time Winner earlier this season at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, said she surpassed her number goal she set for herself coming into Thursday’s first round.

“My goal was 3 under par every day this week, so I feel like I'm okay for the next couple days, I think,” said Lee.

Lee only has one top-10 finish this season in addition to her win in the Bahamas and previous best round of 67 this year came in the final round of the Kingsmill Championship in May.

Brittany Lang started the day on the back nine and opened with four straight birdies on her first four holes.

“I did a really good job,” said Lang. “I've been swinging at it good but haven't made too many putts lately. So just trying to commit to my lines today, and really got off to a hot start. I felt really comfortable out there.”

Lang picked up three more birdies and had a share of the lead at 7-under-par with Lee heading to her final hole on the par 4 9th. But a pulled tee shot put Lang in trouble and she failed to convert on her 30-foot par putt to drop her one shot back.

“I had a great putt there and thought it was in,” said Lang. “I played great. It was a fun day. Just didn't make too many mistakes, hit the ball fantastic, had a lot of tap in birdies. It was just a very easy day. I think maybe a little bit more Gatorade out there because it gets pretty hot towards the end. I didn't finish off as strong as I'd like to. So get some rest and just make sure I'm eating and drinking enough out there.”

The 28-year old Texas native has only has one top-10 finish this season (T7-U.S. Women’s Open) and said an attitude adjustment before the start of the Asian swing was just the thing she thinks she needed.

“It's kind of been a weird year,” said Lang. “I've been hitting it really good, playing well, my attitude hasn't been the greatest, so I've been really working hard on that, and it's been really good. I think that is going to be the difference for me to finish up the good year. It means everything to me to finish this year strong, because I'm not where I want to be on the money list.”

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 1-under 70 and is in a tie for 28th and six shots back. The South Korean said her biggest issue was dealing with the hot and humid conditions. Temperatures at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 100 degrees.

“I think just everything else was really good, but just my irons weren't loose enough, wasn't sharp enough,” said Park. “But I think because a lot of the because of the hot weather, that really made it hard to concentrate a lot out on the course. So I'm trying to relax a little bit more and go for it tomorrow. It's hard for me to play in that hot weather. I'm not a good player to play in hot weather. But I've had success in recent years, like this year in Thailand and last year in Malaysia. So I'll try to keep it going.”

Topics: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

Andrews Sports MedicineArpin Van LinesFloridas NaturalMedjet AssistMichelob ULTRAPrudentialSmuckers