England's Hall in early Open contention as injured Wie pulls out

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Women’s British Open 2018 first-round leaderboard
-7 M Lee (Aus); -6 M Higa (Jpn); -5 G Hall (Eng), SH Park (Kor), T Lu (Tai), MH Lee (Kor), P Phatlum (Tha); -4 S Gal (Ger), L Ko (Aus), M Harigae (US)
Selected others:-3 L Hall (Wal), F Parker (Eng); -2 B Law (Eng), C Frankish (Eng), IK Kim (Eng); -1 Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha), C Matthew (Sco), C Hull (Eng); +4 I Park (Kor)

England’s Georgia Hall is two shots off the lead of the Women;’s British Open after an impressive first round at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Hall, 22, sank three birdies on the back nine to card a five-under-par 67.

She is in a five-way tie for third, two shots adrift of first-round leader Minjee Lee of Australia, and one behind Japan’s Mamiko Higa.

American Michelle Wie pulled out of the tournament with a hand injury midway through her opening round.

Thailand’s world number one Ariya Jutanugarn shot a one-under 71, putting her in a large group which also includes Scottish veteran Catriona Matthew and England’s Charley Hull.

They are a shot behind defending champion Kim In-kyung of South Korea.

Seven-time major winner Inbee Park, ranked second in the world, is down the field after shooting a four-over 76.

Wie ‘couldn’t handle pain any longer’

Wie, ranked 18th in the world, withdrew after 12 holes when she was seven over par.

The 28-year-old has been carrying the injury all year and said she did “everything humanly possible” to be fit for the fourth of the five annual women’s majors.

“I just couldn’t handle the pain any longer,” she added.

“I felt if I kept pushing it then I could make it even worse. But I’m devastated to have to pull out mid-round.”

Michelle Wie

Wie became a household name after starting on the tour as a teenager, finishing tied for third in the British Open as a 15-year-old at Royal Birkdale in 2005.

She has won one major – the 2014 US Women’s Open – and matched her best British Open finish at Kingsbarns in Scotland last year.

Victory at the Women’s World Championship in March ended a four-year trophy drought, but she says she has been “pushing through pain” all year.

“I have been doing everything humanly possible (besides giving it proper rest) this past couple of weeks to get my hand healthy enough to play this event, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I think it’s time to take some time off and get healthy.”

Women’s British Open 2018
Venue: Royal Lytham & St Anne’s Golf Club Date: 2-5 August
Coverage: Nightly highlights on BBC Two, daily reports on BBC Sport website

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BBC Sport – Golf

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