Seeking 2nd title, Pajaree wants more focus
Thai shares lead with Dryburgh, Ciganda
PORTLAND: Pajaree Anannarukarn shot a four-under-par 68 to share the first-round lead at the Portland Classic on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Thai, who carded five birdies and one bogey, was joint leader with Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh and Spain's Carlota Ciganda.
Pajaree is chasing her second LPGA Tour title after winning the World Invitational in Northern Ireland last month.
"I definitely learned a lot from today. I missed some fairways out there. I have to try to probably be more focused on my tee shots," said Pajaree, who has been in Portland for three weeks visiting a friend and enjoying the break from competition.
"Hopefully, I will hit some better drives and give myself some really good opportunities out there."
Ciganda, who shook off an early double bogey, said the chilly morning temperatures required some adjustment.
"Some shots, the ball was flying 10 to 12 metres less, at least for me on the range," she said. "I was like, 'I need to adjust this on the golf course because it is so cold'."
She teed off on 10 and after birdies at 11 and 12 she gave back two shots with a double bogey at the 14th. But the Spaniard would fire five more birdies with just one bogey the rest of the way.
Dryburgh, who also teed off early, had an eagle and five birdies along with three birdies in her roller-coaster round while Pajaree grabbed her share of the lead in the afternoon.
"I tried to stay hydrated and just kept filled up," Pajaree said.
The leading trio had a one-shot lead over six players.
World No.2 Ko Jin-Young of South Korea headed that group alongside France's Perrine Delacour, 2009 Portland winner Hir Mi-Jung and Jenny Shin of South Korea and South African Paula Reto.
Ko teed off on 10 and moved to the top of the leaderboard at five-under before three straight bogeys at the sixth, seventh and eighth holes.
She capped her round with a birdie at the ninth to finish the day just one adrift.
"The weather today was colder than I thought it would be, so it was a bit tough," Ko said.
"It was disappointing to get three bogeys on my final four holes, but it's good to finish the final hole with a birdie."
Dryburgh's round featured an eagle at the par-four seventh, where she holed out from almost 100 yards out.
Koepka to play in Ryder Cup
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka confirmed his participation in next week's Ryder Cup, after his commitment to the competition was called into question.
In an interview with Golf Digest this week, Koepka described the biennial team event between the United States and Europe as "a bit odd" and mentally challenging, saying that he might not be cut out for team sports.
The 31-year-old's comments were criticised by former United States captain Paul Azinger, who suggested Koepka withdraw from the event if he does not want to be there.
However, Koepka said he will be ready to tee it up at Whistling Straits next week and has been in touch with US captain Steve Stricker as he resumed practising.
"I'll be there. I'm good to go," he told Golfweek. "I'm feeling good. Been doing my rehab, doing everything I need to do to be ready for the Cup. I'll be there ready to play." agencies