Jee Young Lee birdied seven straight holes on the back nine enroute to an -8 round of 64 and the 1st round lead at the Safeway Classic presented by Pepsi. Christina Kim and Jenna Daniels are two shots back after opening with 66s. Daniels’ double-bogey on the final hole cost her a share of the lead. Mi Hyun Kim is 4th at -5, with a cast of thousands (21, actually) at -4 or -3.
Lee’s performance over the last few weeks has shown she might be capable of this. She was 5th last week at the Canadian Open, T10th at the US Open, and T14th at the LPGA Championship. She is a rookie on tour, but already has an LPGA victory to her credit! Jee Young won the CJ Nine Bridges last fall as a member of the Korean tour. She’s a long hitter (4th in distance) and good putter (T14). On the SeoulSisters.com message board I’ve dubbed her “Petunia” since her Korean nickname translates as “Flower Pig” (believe it or not!).
One of the crowd at -4 is Diana Ramage, who is from my neck of the woods in Fayetteville, Georgia. The real reason I mention her is this – Safeway is the 15th event Diana has played in this year (and 16th of her career), and she has NEVER made the cut! I will be seriously rooting for her tomorrow.
On the dark side of things, Karrie Webb opened with a 75 and defending champion Soo-Yun Kang brought home a 79. With about 70 players at even par or better, those scores will be difficult to come back from.