MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Ruoning Yin of China and Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand started out on a heater and held it together on their back nine in foursomes Thursday for a 6-under 64, giving them a share of the lead with two other teams after the opening round of the Dow Championship.

Ally Ewing and Jennifer Kupcho, Solheim Cup teammates but never partners, had an eagle late in their round and joined the Thai duo of Chanettee Wannasaen and Jaravee Boonchant as the other teams at 64.

The tournament is the only official team event on the LPGA Tour schedule.

Yin and Thitikul, who both have spent time at No. 1 in the women’s world ranking, made only two pars on the outward nine — and one of those was on a par 5. But they had six birdies to get in the mix quickly, and played bogey-free with one birdie on the front nine.

Yin said Thitikul’s putter was “so hot you don’t want to touch that.”

“My job was just to hit a shot, just make sure the ball is on the green, and she’ll make everything,” Yin said. “It’s pretty fun. We had a great time out there.”

The Thai team played bogey-free, Ewing and Kupcho had their momentum slowed with their lone bogey right after they made the turn, but they answered with a birdie on No. 2 and then an eagle on the par-5 third.

Ewing is coming off a tie for fifth in the KPMG Women’s PGA at Sahalee, coming up one shot short of qualifying for the Olympics. Sahalee is tree-lined and claustrophobic, with firm greens and thick rough. It played every bit like a U.S. Women’s Open.

So the Dow Championship was a nice change of pace.

“We just came from a golf course that’s a mental and demanding golf course, and you get to play partner golf, which is something that we don’t get to do a whole lot,” Ewing said. “This course is a fun course to play in this format. It’s nice to just kind of have something a little bit different and be able to lean on each other to play.”

The American team of Jennifer Chang and Annie Park, and the Taiwan team of Wei-Ling Hsu and Ssu-Chia Cheng were at 65.

Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson only had three sub-par holes — one eagle and two birdies — that kept them in the mix at 66. Also at 66 was the English pair of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull, a particularly impressive feat since Hull had only played half the course.

This wasn’t a case of her clubs getting lost on a flight.

“It was actually quote good because I haven’t actually played the front nine on the golf course yet because …” she said.

“It was so busy,” Hall interjected.

“It was so busy, and I wanted to watch the England game,” Hull said, referring to the European Championship. “So I literally just said, ‘Let’s go to the pub instead.’”

“So I had to guide her around the front nine a little bit,” Hall said. “But we did pretty well considering.”

Pretty well might be an understatement. They ran off four straight birdies and were tied for the lead until closing with a pair of bogeys.

Amy Yang, coming off her first major title last week in the Women’s PGA, teamed with Jennifer Song for a 73.

Friday’s round is fourballs, which typically allows for better scoring.


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