World number five Shanshan Feng of China posted a new course record of seven under par 65 in warm and humid conditions to grab a one stroke lead over compatriot Xiyu Lin early on day one of the Buick Championship.
Feng made a great start when she made a monster 20 yard putt across the green for an eagle the par-five 13th hole, playing as her fourth of the day at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club. She sealed her flawless round after five additional birdies on the 15th, 17th, 18th, fourth and sixth holes.
“I feel very lucky that they watered the greens last night because the greens were not as firm,” said Feng, the 2014 OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters champion, 25, from Guangzhou.
“When we were playing in the Pro-Am and practice round, I could not stop the ball on the greens, even with my wedge. I think today it really helped and I had a lot of birdie chances so overall I did pretty well.”
Lin had surged into the lead after eight birdies in 16 holes, but double bogeyed the par-four ninth after she hooked her tee shot into the river running parallel with the fairway. She then took three putts across a severely sloping green.
“Today I didn’t really think I could have that many birdies: I was just trying to have a good strategy and trying to hit the ball to the widest place,” said Lin, 19, the recent Sanya Ladies Open champion. “My putting was really good and I made all the birdies from three to five yards, because I didn’t hit really close to the hole. There weren’t many mistakes. I made an 18 yard birdie putt on 16, so it was a good round apart from the last hole.”
There was huge excitement around the course later on, when Victoria Lovelady from Brazil made a hole in one at the 16th, playing as her seventh hole. She used a hybrid 5 club to ace the hole from 187 yards, winning a Buick GL8.
Earlier in the day, South African Stacy Lee Bregman holed her second shot for an eagle on the par-four 18th hole.
She said: “I didn’t play too badly and the score never reflected it. I said to my caddie, ‘Let’s finish strongly, because it would be nice not to putt.’ I hit a gap wedge the perfect distance, 107 metres, and saw it roll into the hole. It’s always great to have an eagle to hole out for two on a par four.”
This is the first time that Feng and the rest of the Ladies European Tour players have competed at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club, which is hosting the co-sanctioned event. Last year, two players recorded low rounds of 66, when the Buick Invitational was played on the China LPGA Tour.