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Feng shines as rain slows U.S. Open

The Associated Press

Shanshan Feng tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Thursday.

The Associated PressBEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Shanshan Feng had her best round in the U.S. Women’s Open, and the first-round lead.

Afternoon rain and lightning forced officials to suspend play for more than two hours Thursday in the biggest event in women’s golf, and play was stopped because of darkness with 39 players still on the course. They will return early Friday to complete the round at Trump National Golf Course.

The weather was the only hitch for the players and the USGA, which took a lot of criticism for failing to move the $5 million event to another course after comments by President Donald Trump about women.

Despite fears of protests, Day 1 was uneventful.

There were no demonstrators. The golf was excellent and Feng was outstanding, shooting a 6-under 66 in a tournament in which she has rarely played well in her 10 seasons as a professional in the United States. It marked the first time the 27-year-old from China broke 70 in 42 Open rounds.

Amy Yang of South Korea, who has had two seconds, a third and a fourth in this event in the last five years, was a shot behind.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand played in the same threesome with Feng and was tied for third at 68 with top-ranked Ryu So Yeon of South Korea.

Carlota Ciganda also was 4 under with a hole left. She would have to eagle the par-5 18th to get a share of the lead.

Former Open winner Cristie Kerr, who played with back spasms, and Megan Khang were the best U.S. finishers at 69.

Feng, who has never finished better than fourth in the Open (2012), started her round on the 10th hole and played the back side in 5 under, rolling in five birdies. She added another at No. 1 and then parred her last eight holes.

“I started the round very great,” said Feng, who lipped out on two birdie putts on her final nine.

“I mean I had three birdies in the first four holes and then after that I mean I just felt so comfortable about everything.”

2 set pace at John Deere

SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — Charles Howell III and Ollie Schniederjans each shot 8-under 63 on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic.

Playing alongside local favorite Zach Johnson, Howell birdied seven his first nine holes and added a birdie on No. 7 in his morning round at rain-softened TPC Deere Run. The two-time PGA Tour winner lost a playoff to Kyle Stanley two weeks ago in the Quicken Loans National.

“This morning without traffic, they were rolling like carpet,” Howell said. “This morning was absolutely the best scoring we’ll see all week, which would also lead me to believe that tomorrow morning you’re going to see some low scores as well. Here, it’s about minimizing bogeys as much as you can and take advantage of the holes that you need to.”Speech

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