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Ko one off the pace at LPGA Tour finale

Ko one off the pace at LPGA Tour finale”

It moved her into early position to try to save this season, to keep it from becoming the first winless year of her young career.

Thompson began by slamming her driver into the turf as she watched her opening tee shot sail so far right on the par-5 opening hole that it landed in a murky creek in the hazard.

"I holed some nice putts", said Smith, whose best career finish is second at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship and the 2016 Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She pointed to that win in late September as a bright spot, and she certainly enjoyed the sight of her name in a tie for second on the leaderboard after Thursday's first round.

Smith and Chien hold a one-stroke lead over Suzann Petterson, Karine Icher, Lydia Ko, Azahara Munoz and Sung Hyun Park.

Ariya Jutanugarn opened with a 68.

For the top five players, it's easy - win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home United States dollars 1 million.

If Feng wins the tournament and the $1 million, she's thinking of a nice meal to celebrate and adding to her handbag collection. Her peers dont necessarily see her as a rookie because she dominated on the Korean LPGA Tour the last two years. Like that's what I did for this whole season; I just don't want to give up.

She's one shot back from the lead. She won five times around the world last year, six times around the world the year before. "Where did I go, '" LPGA Hall of Famer and Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin said. "I think part of it is just growing up".

"For the amount that we're on the road, I think it's really important", she said, "and it can't be understated that you need to take time off, and manage yourself emotionally and physically".

Ko's changing of her equipment and swing at the same time appeared to challenge the nature of the way she has always played.

Most players headed back to their rooms to get dressed for the Rolex Awards dinner on Thursday night, which is more of a preview than a coronation because all the major awards wont be decided until Sunday. "I change a little (my) backswing, so feel a little bit more solid".

"I'm sure they are having much better food back home, like celebrity".

The surprise might have been Ko, though she has shown signs in recent months of getting her game back. She's coming off a T-5 finish at the Toto Classic in Japan.

"We were going to play golf and went out there on the range and I couldn't hit about five balls and I couldn't breathe", Snedeker said. The Spanish native only missed five cuts, but could only muster a season-best finish of T15 at the Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim. "That was my best finish in my majors this year".

Grabbing a late flight to U.S. after finishing the Hero Women's Indian Open, Aditi said, "To have the opportunity to play the LPGA CME Tour Championship as a rookie feels great because the field is the best of the best". Golf is such a confidence game. If you start making birdies or putts and playing well, it builds up. "That momentum kind of carries on".

The last 156-player event on the 2017 schedule will be played at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia, in an area where more than two dozen tour players reside, including host Davis Love. She birdied the 13th, 14th and eagled the 17th, hitting a 3-wood to 15 feet. Her biggest concern was the prospect of throwing away her eagle with what looked like a double bogey on the final hole. She skulled her pitch over the green and into a bunker, but that's where she saved the round.



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