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Xiyu Lin grabs early lead at U.S. Women's Open

(Photo credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Xiyu "Janet" Lin of China carded a 4-under 68 to set the pace midway through the first round of the U.S. Women's Open on Thursday at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.

Lin led Nasa Hataoka of Japan, Hae Ran Ryu of South Korea and 21-year-old Irish amateur Aine Donegan, who shot 3-under 69. Two more amateurs -- Italy's Benedetta Moresco, 21, and Amari Avery, 19 -- were part of a tie for fifth at 2-under 70.

Lin stayed in great form after finishing tied for third at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship two weeks ago. She started on the back nine and made her first two birdies at the par-4 15th and par-5 18th holes, the latter on a 30 1/2-foot putt. She added birdies at Nos. 2, 4 and 6 to pass Donegan, and her only bogey came at her closing hole, No. 9.

Donegan had led for part of the morning wave before finishing with an eagle, five birdies and four bogeys in her major debut.

The third major of the women's golf season is offering up a record $11 million purse, with $2 million to the winner.

It also marks the first modern-era women's major at Pebble Beach, which stumped two of the best players in the world early on. World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea was 7 over through 17 holes and World No. 2 Nelly Korda was 4 over through 17.

Michelle Wie West, in the final event of her playing career, opened with a 7-over 79.

Rose Zhang, New Zealand's Lydia Ko and Canada's Brooke Henderson will tee off in the marquee afternoon group at 2:35 p.m. local time.

--Field Level Media