Dutchwoman Anne van Dam takes LPGA lead in Daly City

Long-hitting Anne van Dam two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th for a 5-under-par 67 and a share of the lead with So Yeon Ryu and Eun-Hee Ji in the LPGA Mediheal Championship in Daly City on Thursday.

Van Dam bogeyed two of the first four holes in her afternoon round at Lake Merced Golf Club. The 23-year-old Dutchwoman rallied with an eagle on the par-4 eighth and five birdies to match Ryu and Ji, who started in the morning.

“Hit two poor irons, actually, three poor irons in my first five holes,” van Dam said. “I wasn’t really swinging that freely. So I just said to myself, ‘Go on and play golf, hit shots, and don’t try to think too much about technique. Just play your shots.’”

Van Dam has struggled in her first season on the LPGA Tour, breaking 70 for only the fifth time in 17 rounds. She has four victories on the Ladies European Tour, winning in early March in Australia, and leads the LET Solheim Cup points list.

She’s comfortable at Lake Merced.

“I feel like this golf course is set up perfect for me,” van Dam said. “I can hit long drivers and can be aggressive with my short irons. So, I really enjoyed the course.”

• Rory McIlroy’s 5-under 66 gave him a share of the lead with Joel Dahmen after the opening round at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. Patrick Reed was among those at 67. Defending champion Jason Day had a 68.

ELSEWHERE

U.S. names Women’s World Cup roster

Menlo Park’s Tierna Davidson, a 20-year-old defender who played soccer at Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton and Stanford, was the youngest player selected to U.S. women’s national team roster for next month’s Women’s World Cup in France.

Others with Northern California connections were veteran U.S. forwards Alex Morgan (Cal), Christen Press (Stanford) and Megan Rapinoe (Redding); defender Kelley O’Hara (Stanford) and midfielder Julie Ertz (Santa Clara).

The U.S. next plays an exhibition against South Africa on May 12 at Levi’s Stadium. The Americans’ first World Cup game is June 11 against Thailand.

College basketball: Continuing a trend started by the Big Ten, the Pac-12 announced Thursday that it will increase its men’s conference schedule from 18 games to 20 beginning with the 2020-21 season. The extra games are expected to be played in November or December.

The Big Ten went to a 20-game conference schedule this past season. ACC teams will play 20 games beginning this coming season. Those Power 5 conferences hope to benefit from the extra conference games in terms of better attendance and improved NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) rankings. On the flip side, schools outside the Power 5 conferences have two fewer opportunities to take on bigger-name teams.

— Steve Kroner

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowler, was treated and released from a hospital after a single-car crash in South Florida.

Obituary: Red Kelly, the defenseman-turned-center whose Hall of Fame career included eight Stanley Cups while playing for Detroit and Toronto, has died. He was 91.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Dutchwoman-Anne-van-Dam-takes-LPGA-lead-in-Daly-13815778.php.

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