Thursday’s First-round Recap
Defending champion Lydia Ko got off to a great start in her title defense at the CN Canadian Women’s Open after shooting a 5-under par 65 in Thursday’s first round at Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton. The 16-year old New Zealand native holds a share of the first-round lead with American Angela Stanford and Cristel Boeljon of The Netherlands. Ko was paired with 17-year old and European Solheim Cup team member Charley Hull (69) and 22-year old Canadian pro Jennifer Kirby (67) and said the solid play of the entire group played a part in her strong opening round.
“I started off really well with a birdie, but when I have a birdie on the first hole I haven't really played that well,” said Ko.”I was kind of nervous that I did make a birdie on the first. But I guess birdies are good, and I think I played pretty solid today.
“But I think I played good because the whole group seemed to play good and make lots of birdies, so we were in a really good rhythm as a whole group.”The trio of young players combined to card 14 birdies and all said that they didn’t feel inexperienced.
“It didn't really feel like young players,” said Hull. “I think we're all kind of like mature.”
Kirby added that all three players kept a good pace throughout the first round.
“And quick,” said Kirby. “That was nice.”
Kirby carded four birdies and a bogey en route to a 3-under 67 and is currently two shots off the lead in a tie for sixth. The Paris, Ontario native and University of Alabama alum said that playing in the LPGA’s first stop in Canada at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in July made a huge difference in her comfort level coming into this week.
“I think that it really helped that I played in the Manulife earlier this season and I had a good tournament there, so I think that kind of eased the nerves into this one,” said Kirby. “I felt very comfortable out there and ended up making a few putts, and good round.”
Co-leader Angela Stanford, who was bogey-free in her round of 65 on Thursday, said she needed to tighten things up off the tee this week. Transitioning from playing at the wide-open Colorado Golf Club last week at the Solheim Cup to the narrow fairways at Royal Mayfair was a priority in her game plan.
“I hit it really well today, really solid, and I've been hitting it solid. I think finally the ball found the bottom of the hole a little bit faster,” said Stanford. “I think if you can keep it in the fairways on this golf course, you'll have chances at birdie.”
“My instructor has said that when you have wide‑open fairways, a lot of times your swing gets kind of loose because you can miss it more than normal and still hit a fairway. So I had to really kind of focus in and get lined up correctly, because they are way more narrow.”
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park shot a first-round, 3-under 67 and is currently two shots off the lead in a tie for sixth.
Topics: CN Canadian Women's Open