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golf roundup

Sung Hyun Park one shot back at CME Group Tour Championship

NAPLES, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Sung Hyun Park of Korea plays a shot on the second hole during round one of the CME Group Tour Championship at the Tiburon Golf Club on November 16, 2017 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
LPGA rookie Sung Hyun Park plays a shot on her way to a 67, moving her into second place after the first day of the CME Group Tour Championship.

LPGA rookie Sung Hyun Park took a big first step toward sweeping all the season awards with a 5-under-par 67 to finish one shot behind after the opening round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.

Peiyun Chien of Taiwan and Sarah Jane Smith both shot 66 on a breezy day at Tiburon Golf Club. Neither has a chance at the $1 million bonus this week.

Of the leading five players for the CME Race to the Globe, Park got off to the best start. She saved par after two poor shots on the par-5 14th with a short iron, and then added a pair of birdies late in her round.

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Shanshan Feng, in her debut at No. 1 in the world, had a 70.

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Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Race to the Globe, hit her opening tee shot into a hazard and her day never got much better. She opened with a 71.

PGA — Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead in the RSM Classic on St. Simons Island, Ga.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under. The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles.

Joel Dahmen had a 64, while the group at 65 included Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford, Jason Kokrak, and Brian Gay.

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Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories. The RSM Classic is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year.

Women’s Mid-Am — In Houston, Kelsey Chugg capped a dominant week of match play with a 3-and-1 victory over Mary Jane Hiestand to win the US Women’s Mid-Amateur title and earn a spot in the US Women’s Open next year.

Chugg, making her US Women’s Mid-Amateur debut, began her week with an 85 in stroke play qualifying. She rebounded with a 72 to earn one of 64 spots in match play, and the 26-year-old from Salt Lake City took it from there.

None of her six matches reached the 18th hole at Champions Golf Club.

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‘‘It’s just been a crazy week. I can’t believe I pulled it off,’’ said Chugg, the membership director for the Utah Golf Association. ‘‘This is really exciting for me to be able to bring this home for Utah and the golf community there.’’

Hiestand, a 58-year-old from Naples, Fla., was trying to become the oldest Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. She reached the championship match by making a 50-foot birdie putt to win her semifinals match in 19 holes, and she opened the final match by making a 25-foot par putt.

European — Justin Rose made the best start of the three players looking to become Europe’s top player for 2017 at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai with a 6-under 66.

An eagle from the greenside bunker on the 14th hole and a stunning approach shot to 2 feet for birdie on the 18th handed the Englishman the early initiative in his attempt to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai crown.

The other two players in contention for the crown — Tommy Fleetwood and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia — opened with rounds of 73 and 70, respectively.

Patrick Reed of the United States was the first-round leader after shooting 7-under 65.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final event of the season and needs to equal or better Rose’s finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn’t finish in the top five and Garcia doesn’t win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Sixth-ranked Rose is chasing his third straight tournament success after wins in China and Turkey.