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Hae Ran Ryu fires 64 to lead NW Arkansas Championship

(Photo credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

South Korea's Hae Ran Ryu made five birdies in a six-hole stretch to rush out to the first-round lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Friday in Rogers, Ark.

Ryu shot a 7-under 64 at Pinnacle Country Club, with a group of nine players one stroke back at 65.

Ryu, 22, is a rookie on the LPGA Tour and has five top-10 finishes this season while searching for her first career victory.

She stayed bogey-free on Friday to kick off the 54-hole event. After shooting 2-under on the front nine, Ryu's big break started with a birdie at the par-4 12th hole. She proceeded to string together four more at Nos. 14-17, two of which were par-3 holes.

Lexi Thompson headlined the nine-way tie for second. The LPGA veteran was 7 under through 16 holes but carded her lone bogey at her penultimate hole, the par-4 eighth.

Thompson is seeking her first win on tour since June 2019.

Also tied for second were Christina Kim, Japan's Yuka Saso, Kelly Tan of Malaysia, Lydia Ko of New Zealand, Australian Hannah Green, Germany's Olivia Cowan, Jenny Shin of South Korea and Nicole Broch Estrup of Denmark.

Morgane Metraux of Switzerland and Bronte Law of England were part of a six-way tie at 5-under 66.

Defending champion Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand opened with a 3-under 68.

--Field Level Media