Wednesday, September 30, 2020

American Joh makes waves with first-round 62 at Scottish Open, Ariya hit a 67

Jul 27. 2018
Tiffany Joh
Tiffany Joh
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By AFP

American journeywoman golfer Tiffany Joh has one eye on the Scottish Open title and one on a spot of weekend surfing after taking the lead with a majestic first-round 62 on Thursday.

The 31-year-old -- yet to record a win on the LPGA Tour -- took to the sun-baked course, holing nine birdies at the same Gullane club where less than a fortnight ago South African Brandon Stone shot a men's course-record 60.

Joh, who was diagnosed with melanoma in January last year and had the cancerous area on her head removed, returning to the Tour just four months later, has a four-shot lead over a trio of South Koreans -- Jenny Shin, Amy Yang and reigning British Open champion Kim In-kyung.

However, Joh, who is known as one of the jokers on the tour, appeared to have her eyes set on an alternative form of entertainment at the weekend, should she be able to fit it in -- surfing the waves off the east coast.

"I've been doing a little research and I heard that there's a place called Pease Bay that might be pretty decent," world number 177 Joh told reporters.

"I have a little magic sea app and it tells me the nearest surf breaks and if there's any surf forecasted.

"Today and tomorrow it didn't look like there was anything very good, but it looked like this weekend there might be a little swell in the water."

Kim says her and her fellow Koreans may not have the habit of playing links golf but they have taken to it with alacrity.

"I mean, we play in very windy conditions and we play in rainy conditions (in Korea) and everything, but this is very different," said Kim.

"I think we're just kind of looking at the view and like we've never seen it before so it's exciting." 

After the men let down their Scottish fans last weekend at the British Open with just amateur Sam Locke making the cut, the women are aiming not to disappoint in equal fashion.

Kelsey MacDonald rose to the challenge admirably with a 67, while compatriot Catriona Matthew -- who lives locally -- is another two shots back and had the rare privilege of her two daughters being able to come and watch her play.

Ariya Jutanugarn, with five birdies against a bogey, opened with a 67 which was the best score among Thais in the tournament.

"It was pretty tough today because the wind start to like pick it up like pretty strong, especially yesterday was like to wind at all. Totally different course," said Ariya.

 Asked what she liked most about her game on Thursday, she said: "I'm going to say my irons pretty good. I missed some tee shots and I missed some short putts, but irons helped me a lot."

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