There’s no place like home, especially when 34 weeks of the year are spent away from it.
M.J. Hur calls Texas home. The South Korean lives just 35-minutes from this week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in Irving, Texas and on Thursday Hur matched her low round of 2016 with a 5-under par, 66 to take the early lead on day one. The trip home afforded Hur an opportunity to swap out some of her equipment, exchanging her 5-hybrid for an old putter she used five years ago but it performed like new in round one, helping Hur around in 27 putts. She started her day on the back nine and posted five consecutive birdies as she made the turn.
“Yeah, my putting just was everything on the course today,” said Hur. “My shot wasn’t that good and my address wasn’t that comfortable but my putting did really well. So it helps me really a lot so that’s why I had five straight birdies and finished strong.”
But her mental game also got a boost with a trip home, her father imparting some wisdom before Hur began Thursday’s round.
“You know, my father said this morning, my father said, ‘hey M.J., just enjoy your golf.’ It’s really hard to enjoy, play golf, right. But I really try to enjoy it on the course with my caddie Jack. So I just do same thing rest of the rounds,” Hur told the media.
The two-time LPGA champion is looking for her first win since the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, and a victory seems near as her game has continued to trend upward in recent weeks. Hur is coming off her best finish of the season with a T-6 performance at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. She also posted back-to-back top-14 finishes at the Kia Classic and ANA Inspiration.
Hur holds the early lead in round one at 5-under par, one stroke ahead of So Yeon Ryu who carded a Tournament course record 9-under par, 63 at last week’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Ryu posted a nearly flawless round on Thursday, missing just one fairway and one green en route to a bogey-free 4-under par, 67.
“Today I shot 17 greens, and even when I missed I was still able to putt it, I was just off the green,” Ryu told the media. “ So I think today my shot was really great, I just comfortable with everything and like driver, iron, wood, everything was great. Even putting was really great. The only one disappointing thing is I missed a 5‑foot birdie putt at the last. But I had a bogey‑free round today, so it was a really simple round.”