Yuka Saso o hits her tee shot on the 2nd hole during the first round of the Cognizant Founders Cup at Mountain Ridge Country Club on October 07, 2021 in West Caldwell, New Jersey. (AFP)

Yuka Saso birdied the par-518th hole to cap a bogey-free four-under par 67 and gain a share for third in the opening round of the LPGA Founders Cup at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey.

The reigning US Women’s Open titlist got off to a fine start when she birdied her opening hole before gunning two more, including the par-3 seventh to draw level with top-ranked American Nelly Korda, South Koreans Amy Yang and Ryu So-yeon, Canada’s Brooke Henderson, and France’s Perrine Delacour.

They trail Ko Jin-young by four shots after the Korean ace sizzled with 9 birdies against a lone bogey for a 63 and a three-shot lead over Germany’s Sandra Gal when darkness fell with 30 players still on the course. A 90-minute morning fog delayed completion of the opening round until Friday.

Dottie Ardina, the other Filipina in the field, eagled the par-4 3rd hole but managed an even-par 71.

Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn had the low round on the course at 3-under with three holes remaining.

It was Ko’s 11th consecutive round in the 60s, three shy of matching the all-time record set in 2005 by Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam.

Gal birdied the par-3 fifth and seventh holes and added birdies at the par-4 11th, 12th and 14th holes.

Tokyo Olympic champion Korda had six birdies and two bogeys in her first round since playing for the US team in a Solheim Cup loss to Europe last month. (With a report from AFP)

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