ANNIE PARK AND MINJEE LEE FIRE LOW ROUNDS OF THE AFTERNOON WAVE
When the winds gusted up to 30 miles per hour during the afternoon wave Annie Park and Minjee Lee remained calm and put together an impressive rounds of 67.
“I don’t know,” Park said with a smile when asked how she was able to piece her round together. “It was definitely not easy out there with the wind picking up, but, I mean, I hit some good shots. There were some lucky shots out there, too, and then I think putting was kind of difficult, especially with the wind and the slopes. There was every there were some really scary putts out there, especially when it’s, like, helping wind downhill, but I had a good round. “
“I just holed a couple of really solid putts,” Lee explained. “They weren’t super close and one was really long and got my momentum going. I lost it on nine and then I pared the first couple of holes and just finished with three birdies later in the round.”
Park tallied seven birdies, including five of her first seven holes, against two bogeys to post her 5-under round.
“Yeah, I’ve been hitting it well,” Park said of her play coming into the week. “My putts just weren’t really dropping the past few weeks, I saw a putting coach in Miami on Monday and got here kind of late but he helped me out a lot and then I dropped some putts today.”
Lee made a total of seven birdies during the day including four birdies in a row on holes 13, 14, 15 and 16.
“They were all shots with wedges,” Lee said. “I just took advantage of length of the tee.”
BEWARE THE SICK GOLFER
Alejandra Llaneza, who has been battling the flu, fired a 4-under, 68 to sit three shots back of leader Laetitia Beck at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.
“It was exciting, because it was the first day that I felt with enough strength to, like, walk, because the other days I was just so tired,” Llaneza admitted. “I had a fever and it was just bad. So today I was just excited to be on the golf course.“
Llaneza had the flu and was unable to get in her normal per-tournament practice routine.
“I scaled it back a lot,” Llaneza explained. “I only played nine holes for practice. I played here two years ago and my caddy had the course really well mapped out, so I knew we just had to focus on hitting the right shots.”
The game plan worked as Llaneza sits in fourth place heading into the second round.
“I think it’s, like as repetitive as it sounds, it’s just doing the best we can with staying in your routine and staying with the shot that you’re hitting at that moment, and then everything else will fall into place.”
MORGAN PRESSEL IN THE MIX
Morgan Pressel carded a 3-under 69, to sit tied for fifth after the first round of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on Thursday. Pressel started off strong on the front nine as she made four birdies while combating the winds on the course.
“It was tough out there,” Pressel said. “The wind played and made it difficult to get close to the hole. When you end up 40 feet on some of these greens, it’s just good to 2 putt.”
With the winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour, Pressel had to make adjustments to her game to make all her shots stick. Pressel said that she has never a golf course play like the one in Prattville.
“I hit with a driver, 3 wood and an 8 iron, and I hit them all really well,” Pressel said of her approach into the par-5 10th. “With the way some of these holes dogleg and the way the bunkers are placed, you had to pick much different targets than usual because you couldn’t carry certain bunkers and things like that.”
Despite the tough conditions, Pressel is happy with the position she’s in after round one.
“I’m happy with 3 under,” Pressel said. “I had more chances but I made some really good putts early for the first few birdies that I made. Just have to get after it tomorrow.”
NUMBERS TO KNOW
17 - Players who currently sit at 1-under par
5 - Q Baek, Laetita Beck, Chelle Choi, Vicky Hurst and Christina Kim were the only five players in the field with bogey free rounds