SYLVANIA, Ohio — Rookie Youngin Chun of South Korea and Alena Sharp of Canada each fired a 7-under-par round of 64 on Thursday, July 11, to share the lead after one round of the Marathon Classic here.
Four players are tied for third at Highland Meadows Golf Club, as Stacy Lewis, Spain's Azahara Munoz, Germany's Caroline Masson and Sweden's Jenny Haglund each shot 65.
Four more, including world No. 4 Lexi Thompson and No. 9 Jeongeun Lee6 of South Korea, are another stroke back at 5 under. Nine players are tied for 11th at 4 under, led by world No. 8 Brooke Henderson of Canada and No. 12 Sei Young Kim of South Korea.
The leaders, both seeking their first victory on the LPGA Tour, each went off in the morning and took advantage of softer conditions.
Chun, a rookie who has missed the cut in eight of 11 events and finished no better than 65th, started on the back nine and ran off three straight birdies from the 13th to the 15th. After five straight pars, she made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 and again at Nos. 7 and 8 before completing the bogey-free round with a par at No. 9.
The round was the best of Chun's young career by three strokes in total and two strokes relative to par. She said afterward that even she was surprised by her low score.
"I didn't know I shot 64 today," the 19-year-old told reporters with a smile. "The funniest thing I finish par ... and then I saw the leaderboard, and there is a 7 under, and I was like, 'Who is that?' I asked my dad, 'I think I shot 6, right?' He said, 'No, you're 7.'
"So it was me," she added with a laugh.
Sharp sullied a first-hole birdie with a bogey at the second, but it would prove to be her only blemish of the day. She managed back-to-back birdies three separate times — at Nos. 3 and 4, 11 and 12 and 15 and 16 — along with a birdie at No. 8.
"I'm hitting it really well, so I think I took advantage of a little bit softer greens," said Sharp, who is in her 15th year on tour. "Tomorrow afternoon, it's not going to be like that. I hit a lot of good wedges. The challenge is on the tee shots to get the right spot on the fairway. I did that well today."
Lewis started on the back nine and parred the first seven holes before racking up seven birdies and a bogey over the final 11.
Masson also had seven birdies and one bogey in her round, while Haglund and Munoz each went bogey-free on the day. Munoz finished with a bang, birdieing No. 17 and chipping in for eagle at No. 18, both par-5s.
Thompson and Lee6 each opened strong before cooling off, reaching 5 under with seven and six holes still to play, respectively, before parring out.
World No. 3 Minjee Lee of South Korea, the highest-ranked player in the field, shot 69 and is tied with 11 others in 29th.
Defending champion Jasmine Suwannapura of Thailand is another stroke back at 1 under, tied with 19 players in 40th.