Friday’s First-round Recap
2013 LPGA Tour rookie Moriya Jutanugarn and four-year LPGA pro Amanda Blumenherst sit tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under-par after the first round of the 2013 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer. Blumenherst and Jutanugarn each opened the event with a 5-under 66 at the Stockton Seaview Golf Club, which is located just outside Atlantic City, New Jersey in nearby Galloway.
Blumenherst, who won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur as part of a stellar amateur career, tallied one eagle, four birdies and one bogey in her round. Friday’s impressive round was a confidence boost for Blumenherst, who has struggled at the start of the 2013 season. She’s missed the cut in six of the eight events that she’s played so far this year and her season-best finish so far is T33 at the Kia Classic.
“It's been a while since I've had a very solid round of golf and felt like I just played well throughout the entire day,” said Blumenherst. “It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun out there because it's been a challenging start to the season.”
Moriya Jutanugarn made six birdies and tallied one bogey in her opening round on Friday at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. This marks the first time that 18-year-old Moriya has led or co-led an LPGA Tour event.
While her 17-year-old sister Ariya has drawn most of the LPGA headlines this year, Moriya Jutanugarn has been quietly putting together a solid rookie season on the LPGA Tour. The 18-year-old Thailand native currently leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race with 269 points thanks to four top-25 finishes including a season-best tie for fourth at the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
And now Moriya wants to take advantage of putting up a solid round on a day where scoring conditions only got more difficult as the day went along.
“This course is going to be really windy in the afternoon, so we're lucky because we played in the morning,” Jutanugarn said. “My game today, I hit the tee shots like in the ‑‑ I hit it in the fairway a lot, so it kept me in the places that are easy to play. But the greens were kind of getting firmer and firmer, and it's more ‑‑ you have to see like ‑‑ it's in good shape, but you have to see like where you can miss it and where you cannot.”
Sitting one stroke behind the two leaders is defending champion and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis. She finished off her round of 67 with a birdie on the par-5 ninth. Lewis, who led wire-to-wire at last year’s event, got off to another hot start by tallying five birdies and one bogey in her opening round.
Lewis is looking for her third victory of the 2013 season, having already won in Singapore and Phoenix this year. She’s also trying to see if she can successfully defend a title for the first time in her career.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park continued her struggles from last week in Friday’s opening round. Coming off her first missed cut since the 2012 season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Park couldn’t get things going in this round as she shot a 3-over-74 to sit in a tie for 76th.
Even if Park misses the cut again this week, Lewis does not have a chance to take over the No. 1 spot in the rankings. However, Lewis continues to inch closer to the 24-year-old South Korean and a victory this week would put the two neck-and-neck for that top spot.
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Michelle Wie shot her best round of the season, a 3-under 68, and currently sits two shots back in solo fourth place.
“I think I was out there and the main thing I focused on was just staying patient today,” said Wie. “I was really just thinking one shot at a time, not really thinking too far ahead or getting ahead of myself. I think I did a good job of that and I really have to do that for the next two days.”
Topics: ShopRite LPGA Classic