HOYLAKE, England — South Koreans Haeji Kang and So Yeon Ryu shot 2-under-par 70s on Thursday, giving them a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Women’s British Open.
No player could take command of the Hoylake links course at Royal Liverpool. The two South Koreans had the highest first-round-leading score since the tournament became a major in 2002. Twenty-six players were within two shots of the lead.
Nine players are a stroke back, including former champions Jayai Shin, South Korea’s winner at Sunningdale in 2008, and Australia’s Karrie Webb, a seven-time major winner who captured the tournament at Turnberry in 2002.
Katie Futcher and Vicky Hurst are the leading Americans at 71. Also in that group is 16-year-old English amateur Charley Hull and Australia’s Stacey Keating.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Boise, Idaho, Augusta’s Scott Parel had two eagles in a round of 4-under-par 67 in the Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club, but he couldn’t keep pace with the leaders.
Parel, who made his eagles on par-5 holes, also had three birdies and three bogeys.
He trails leaders Michael Putnam, Andrew Svoboda and Tyrone Van Aswegen by five shots.
Putnam, a former Pepperdine golfer, started his round on the 10th hole, struck for five birdies in a row (No. 18, Nos. 1-4) for his 62.
The co-leaders have a one-shot lead over Glen Day and Jeff Gove.
Aiken native Matt Hendrix shot 72.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Fiano, Joel Sjoholm, of Sweden, shot 8-under-par 64 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Italian Open.
Lee Slattery, of England, was at 65 and seven players were two shots back: Englishmen Richard McEvoy, Richard Bland and David Howell; South Africans Garth Mulroy and Keith Horne; Victor Dubuisson, of France; and Gareth Maybin, of Northern Ireland. Italy’s Francesco Molinari, the 2006 winner, had 68, as did former Augusta State golfer Scott Jamieson.
Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer shot 70, and captain’s pick Nicolas Colsaerts is another stroke back. Europen Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot 70.
Former Augusta State golfers Jamie Elson and Oliver Wilson shot 72 and 75, respectively.
U.S. MID-AMATEUR: In Lake Forest, Ill., Nathan Smith edged Garrett Rank 1-up in their 36-hole finals match that went the distance, winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship for a record fourth time.
Smith now has half of the Mid-Amateurs he has qualified for, and has a match-play record of 32-4.
Smith, 34, of Pittsburgh, earned an invitation to the 2013 Masters Tournament with the victory at Conway Farms Golf Club.
Smith was 3-up through 30 holes, but lost three in a row as Rank, a 25-year-old referee in the Ontario Hockey League, squared the match.
They both parred the 34th hole, then Smith went 1-up with a par on the 35th hole.
On the par-5 36th hole, they both made par.
Smith previously won this event, for golfers age 25 and over, in 2003, 2009 and 2010. He broke a tie with Jay Sigel for the tournament victory record.