Golf-Szokol takes three-shot lead after sizzling 64 at Sentosa

(Reuters) – World number 153 Elizabeth Szokol outplayed a stellar field with an eight-under-par 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the opening round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore on Thursday.

After a bogey at her first hole, the American bagged seven birdies and an eagle to build a solid lead over the chasing pack, which was led by Yuka Saso on five-under after the Japanese world number 36 shot a flawless 67.

American world number two Nelly Korda carded a 68 for a share of third place with five other players, including fellow major winners Patty Tavatanakit, Kim Hyo-joo, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lee Jeong-eun.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko (70) of New Zealand and South Korea’s reigning champion Ko Jin-young (72) endured difficult days with the putter at the Sentosa Golf Club and finished in a share of 14th and 36th respectively.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney and Himani Sarkar)