Japan’s Sakura Yokomine battled through hot and windy conditions and tied the lowest opening round of her career with a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead at the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Yokomine put together a very impressive round with five birdies and an opportune eagle on the 12th with a pure 5-wood shot that left her close, about ‘five meter’ as she described it. She followed with birdies on 15 and 16 but ended her round with a bogey that diminished her lead from two shots to one. Her best finish of the 2016 season was a T10 at the Cambia Portland Classic back in June.

“Yeah, I like it,” Yokomine said of Miramar Golf & Country Club. “Wind is changing the conditions, but I concentrated and played good today.”

Canada’s Brooke Henderson, South Korea’s Amy Yang and American Paula Creamer are in a three-way tie for second at 4-under par. Defending champion Lydia Ko battled back from a double-bogey on the 5th hole to get to 2-under. She sits in a tie for 10th place.

Despite the strong winds, Creamer carded one of the three bogey-free rounds on day one in Taiwan. Ha Na Jang (-3) T5 and Beatriz Recari (-3) T5 were the only other two players to accomplish the same feat.

"I've always played really well when it's windy and just kind of tough" Creamer said in her post round interview. "You have to think a lot out there. Colin and I worked really well as a team today. I mean, it's pretty windy in certain spots out on this golf course, and he did a good job of figuring that out for us."

After starting the year with a T6 finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, Paula Creamer has managed just one more Top-10 in 18 starts and missed seven cuts in that span. Creamer, who hasn’t won since the HSBC Women’s Champions in 2014, has made a lot of changes to her game but is starting to see the hard work with coach Gary Gilchrist pay off.

“Definitely has not been okay by my standards, that’s for sure,” Creamer said of her 2016 season. “I started out really strong. I knew it was going to be tough with all the changes that I’ve made. I’ve been telling people that I am very close. It’s just a matter of time.”

Brooke Henderson T2 (-4) made a late charge up the leaderboard by birdieing 3 of her final 4 holes. The run was sparked by a chip-in on the 15th hole.  

"I kind of had a tough lie in the rough there on the left side of 15, and so I just kind of tried to hit it out to the right." Henderson described following her round. "I was thinking in my head, try and get up and down and save par and then try and make some birdies on the last three holes. I was able to chip that one in; birdie 16; had a good chance on 17; birdied 18. It was really the ideal ending."

Henderson (T2) will join Hee Young Park (T5) and Beatriz Recari (T5) with a 10:24 a.m. tee-time on the first hole for round 2. Sakura Yokomine (1), Paula Creamer (T2) and Amy Yang (T2) will tee-off of the first hole at 10:35 a.m.

 

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Photo Credit: 2016 Getty Images

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