KO FOUR OFF THE PACE IN SEASON DEBUT
World No. 1 Lydia Ko, who finished runner-up here a year ago along with Ha Na Jang, opened her first event of the season with a 3-under-par 69. Ko, who won the 2015 Race to the CME Globe, money list title, and Rolex Player of the Year honors, knows it’s a long season and isn’t trying to push herself too hard this week to be at her peak performance.
“First nine holes were pretty rusty, but almost felt like our whole group as we made the turn, we started making birdies,” Ko said. “On 10 it was my first birdie of the season so it was great, but obviously starting to get back into playing competitively and think more target oriented. It’s definitely different than hitting the ball on the range. It’s a pretty solid start. I’m happy with the way I finished today and definitely the back nine, hitting a few wedges close. I gave myself a few better looks for birdie.”
Ko held the lead here a year ago after 70 holes but made a costly double on the 17th hole to allow Na Yeon Choi to edge out a one-shot win. She made par on the 17th Wednesday and currently sits in a tie for eighth.
NEW DOG AND AUGUSTA DREAMING FOR HA NA JANG
Ha Na Jang made an albatross on a par-4 last week in the Bahamas so she knew exactly what she had to do: She bought a dog.
The name? Albatross, of course!
She already had two dogs, Eagle and Birdie, so she knew she needed a third once she’d holed an albatross.
“Last week’s unbelievable shot on Friday, so I got new dog and named it Albatross,” Jang said of her new Pomeranian. “I need one more dog, Hole-in-one!”
Jang estimated that she got 300 text messages Friday night after her albatross, but she’s still awaiting one text in particular – one from PGA Tour player Danny Lee. Lee and Jang are old friends and he actually caddied for her during one round of a USGA event in 2007, and she was planning on texting Lee after her round today to ask if she could return the favor in two months for him.
“He’s my friend, so I want to caddie for him at the Par-3 at The Masters,” Jang said. “I will text him after my round today.”
In addition to her potential caddie gig, Jang’s already planned her schedule around being able to attend The Masters in April and knows exactly who she wants to watch over those three or four days.
“I like Jordan,” Jang said of men’s golf’s No. 1 player. “I want to watch Jordan.”
NEW TECHNOLOGY HELPS KELLY TAN
Kelly Tan sits three back of the lead following an opening round 68.
“I can’t complain, but with the way I finished, I still think that I can do better, but I gave myself a lot of chances today,” Tan said. “I stayed short of the holes and have a lot of uphill putts and a couple tap-ins and took care of the par-5s, and that’s how I scored today."
Tan started her day strong with birdies on six of her first 14 holes but dropped a pair at the end to post her 4-under round.
“I mean, it happens. I mean, I’m not a machine, so I’ve just got to take that and just move on. Just keep doing what I’m doing, and I think I’ll be okay.”
One of the things that Tan has been using to help her confidence and mindset has been a new piece of technology that she put in her bag before the season.
“I don’t know if you know about the Focus Band,” Tan said. “They’re new, and it’s like a brain machine that tracks how -- if you’re thinking with your right brain or you’re thinking too much, like analyzing yourself too much. I saw a couple girls use it this week. It’s really good.”