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Jaravee Boonchant rides 128-yard eagle to share of Dana Open lead

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Jaravee Boonchant holed out from 128 yards for eagle on her second shot of the round and had a 7-under 64 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead with Linn Grant in the LPGA Tour’s Dana Open.

“I was just like on the first cut and I was like, ‘OK, this shot, just anywhere on the green,'” Boonchant said about the eagle on No. 10. “… and the ball just happened to hit one bounce and hop in the hole.”

Boonchant also had seven birdies and two bogeys at Highland Meadows. The 24-year-old Thai player is winless on the LPGA Tour after helping Duke take the 2019 NCAA title. She missed the cut last week in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

“My irons were really doing the work today and just put me in a position that I could have a chance to make a birdie,” Boonchant said. “My putter was rolling really well, too, so that really helped.”

Grant had a bogey-free round, opening with six straight pars on the back nine. Also winless on the tour, the 24-year-old Swede birdied Nos. 16-18 and 2, 6, 8 and 9. She played at Arizona State.

“I think coming off last week – playing at Pebble, it was a challenge,” said Grant, who tied for 53rd in the U.S. Women’s Open. “I felt last week that I really hit the ball well and I was putting well. Obviously, coming here, easier conditions. I think that kind of just suited my mindset for the day.”

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Emily Pedersen of Denmark were a stroke back. Twelve-time tour winner Jutanugarn had a bogey-free round. Pedersen birdied three of her last four holes.

“Pretty solid,” Pederson said. “I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, got up-and- down two out of the three times I missed the greens. So, seven birdies – pretty stress-free.”

Rose Zhang topped the group at 66. She had received a sponsor exemption to the Dana Open when she turned pro, and before winning her first LPGA Tour event as a pro at Liberty National.

“I was able to convert some long putts for birdie and made a really clutch par putt on the par 5 coming in, so I think overall it was very solid,” Zhang said. “Hopefully, I keep the momentum going.”

Bailey Tardy, coming off a fourth-place tie at Pebble Beach, also was at 66 with Linnea Strom, Linnea Johansson, Matilda Castren, Xiyu Lin, Kelly Tan, Xiaowen Yin and Aditi Ashok.

U.S. Women’s Open winner Allisen Corpuz birdied the two closing par 5s for a 67. Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Sei Young Kim also were in the large group at 67.

Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in the world ranking, shot a 69. She missed the cut at Pebble Beach.

Defending champion Gaby Lopez of Mexico opened with a 70. She bogeyed two of the three par 5s.

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