Nine-under-par rounds of 63 from Nasa Hataoka and Ruoning Yin helped them into the lead at the end of the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club; Watch the second round of the LPGA Tour finale live on Sky Sports Golf on Friday
Last Updated: 17/11/23 6:33am
Nasa Hataoka and Ruoning Yin shot nine-under-par rounds of 63 to forge a tie for the first-round lead at the CME Group Tour Championship on Thursday in Naples, Florida.
Hataoka was the first to reach nine-under and Yin matched her at the end of the afternoon, with her final birdie coming at the par-five 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club. Both players carded nine birdies and no bogeys to kick off the lucrative season finale tournament.
The top 60 players in the Race to the CME Globe standings qualified for the season-ending event, which features the highest winning payout in women’s golf. The champion will take home a $2m (£1.75m) first prize.
Hataoka, the 24-year-old from Japan, is in a terrific position to end her winless run which dates back to April 2022. She rolled in five birdies on the front nine and four more on the back.
Chinese golfer Yin, the 21-year-old who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June, followed suit with a three-birdie stretch from holes six to eight, helping her to the front-nine 31. She narrowly missed a 10th birdie from long range at the par-four 18th.
Yin, ranked No 2 in the world, and France’s Celine Boutier are the only players mathematically alive to win the LPGA Player of the Year award.
Minjee Lee of Australia is third with a bogey-free eight-under 64, and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden (65) carded eight birdies and one bogeys to place fourth at seven-under after one round.
England’s Georgia Hall is part of a five-way tie for fifth alongside Alison Lee, Patty Tavatanakit, Hye-Jin Choi and Yu Liu after all shot six-under rounds 66. Of that quintet, all but Liu went bogey-free on Thursday.
Jennifer Kupcho, Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand and Xiyu Lin of China shot five-under 67 to form a tie for 10th. Nelly Korda was part of a large group at four-under on 68 which also featured Ireland’s Leona Maguire and English star Charley Hull.
Watch the second round of the LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship live on Sky Sports Golf via the red button from 7pm and on the main channel from 8pm. Also stream with NOW.
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