Five LPGA Tour members sit one shot off the lead after the opening round of the Mizuno Classic at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club. Floridian Brittany Lincicome, Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and South Koreans Jiyai Shin, Chella Choi and Hee-Wan Han sit in a tie for second along with four JLPGA members at 3-under 69, trailing first-round leader and Japan native Shiho Oyama.
Oyama, who is a 13-year member of the JLPGA with 12 tournament wins, carded six birdies and two bogeys to finish at 4-under 68 on Friday. Despite battling neck pains early in the week, Oyama surprised herself with the solid opening round and hopes the pain continues to subside throughout the weekend.
“It was really great being able to play with Brittany Lang again,” said Oyama through an interpreter. “This week I’m not actually aiming for the win though, I’m just looking forward in playing with the U.S. LPGA players and hopefully my neck won’t get any worse than now.”
Lincicome got off to a hot start with an eagle on the par-5 first hole, sinking a 15-foot putt after carrying the green on her second shot.
“It was actually pretty funny because I was looking at the leaderboard before I teed off,” said Lincicome. “I don’t usually look at the leaderboard but I caught a glimpse of it when I was walking to the tee and it said the leader was at 2-under. I was like, all I’ve got to do is eagle No. 1.
“So I got to the first tee and I actually had a great drive. My second shot was going right at the pin but I was trying to hit it right of the bunker. It carried the bunker and goes on the green. Then I get up there and it was a straight, downhill, super severe putt. So I was thinking just lag it up there, hit it close, birdie is still a great score. Then I ended up making the putt for eagle.”
A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Lincicome immediately followed with her first blemish of the day with a bogey on the second hole. She went on the record four birdies and two bogeys to sit in a nine-way tie for second.
Wind crept into the area in the afternoon making for tougher course conditions but it seemed to play in Lindberg’s favor as she carded four birdies and one bogey to take a share of second place. She says learning to play through the wind will be the key to keeping a low score this week.
“If it keeps staying windy like this, you have to take advantage of some of the par-5s and the shorter par-4s when you have a wedge in your hand,” said Lindberg, who is seeking her first LPGA Tour victory. “If the wind calms down a little bit it’s all going to come down to a putting competition out there. So just keep dropping putts.”
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis didn’t get off to the start she expected at the Mizuno Classic, carding two birdies and one bogey to sit in a tie for 20th. But the defending champion, who came from seven-strokes behind to seal the win in 2012, says she’s still in the hunt as she seeks her first successful title defense of her career.
“It was kind of up and down,” said Lewis of her round. “I probably could have played a lot better but I think it could have been worse. I played really tough through a lot of cross winds and I just hung in there all day. I knew scores weren’t going to be low and I just needed to hang in there and try my best. But I definitely kept myself in the tournament and that was the goal.”
Topics: Mizuno Classic