Paju, South Korea — South African golfer Ashleigh Buhai secured the opening round lead at the BMW Ladies Championship at Seowon Valley Country Club on Thursday, with South Korean rookie Ryu Hae-ran closely following on the leaderboard.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Buhai shot a bogey-free round of 10-under 62 at Seowon Hills, in the Gyeonggi Province northwest of Seoul. Buhai, who won her first LPGA tournament last year and added another victory this year, finished with five birdies each on the front nine and the back nine.
Before participating in the tournament in South Korea, Buhai had taken a five-week break due to a recurrent back injury. "I've had one week of practice coming here. My goal for this week was to play with no expectations, and that's often when you play well," Buhai said.
Some overnight rain had softened the par-72, 6,680-yard course, which, according to Buhai, allowed for aggressive play. Korean American Alison Lee is just one shot behind Buhai, after her own bogey-free round of 63. Lee noted that the softened greens made the course "very scorable."
Two players are positioned at eight-under, while Ryu, who won her first LPGA title earlier this month, is among four players at seven-under 65. Ryu is the only South Korean player in the top 10. Kim Hyo-joo, who won a tournament in Texas two weeks ago, is tied for 16th place.
Ko Jin-young, the highest-ranking South Korean in the world rankings at No. 3, had a challenging round and finished at two-over 74, with three bogeys against one birdie. Defending champion Lydia Ko started her title defense with a round of five-under 67.