Mi Hyang Lee looking for redemption
A year ago Mi Hyang Lee lost the Manulife LPGA Classic by one shot. This year, she started as good as she could have on the path to redemption, firing an 8-under-par 64 to open the tournament.
Lee made six birdies and an eagle Thursday – with no bogeys – and sits tied for the lead with 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic winner Suzann Pettersen after round one.
“I hit it so solid today,” said Lee. “I think I had good start (on) No. 2 and then No.3 I made eagle, so I had a lot of confidence from that two holes.”
Alena Sharp the low Canadian after round one
Alena Sharp is from just under an hour from Whistle Bear Golf Club, and it certainly felt like a home game Thursday, as she fired a 6-under-par 66 and is the low Canadian after round one.
Sharp started her day with a bogey on No.10 – her first – but bounced back with an eagle and a birdie on her third and four holes of the day.
“I started with a bogey but I just didn’t let it get to me. Made an eagle on No.12 to get back to red numbers right away,” said Sharp. “I made a lot of key putts today and that kept me going. I made a lot of six- to 10-footers, which is what I’ve been working on, so it’s nice to see the results come early in the tournament.”
Sharp acknowledged that, given Thursday’s perfect weather conditions, she had to get off to a good start.
“I knew I needed to shoot a low round, but you don’t really want to think about a score in your mind,” she said. “The way I’m hitting it, I knew I was going to have a lot of chances, and I took advantage of the par fives. I was 5-under on those which really helped me out.”
The 36-year-old had her best season on the LPGA Tour a year ago, and she’s seemingly picked up right where she left off with another nice run to start 2017. It’s rare that she gets to play so close to home, though, and she’s relishing this opportunity.
“It’s nice to be in my own backyard, basically, and have my family come out and watch me,” she explained. “It’s not often I get my whole family to come out and watch at one time, so it’s really nice to have their support.” Sharp’s fellow Olympian, Brooke Henderson, didn’t fare as well, shooting a 1-under-par 71. But, Henderson birdied the final hole of the day to get to red figures.
“I hit a lot of great shots today and just the putts didn’t fall,” said Henderson. “Hopefully a few more putts drop tomorrow morning and I can climb up that leaderboard a little more.”
Suzann Pettersen looks for first win since 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic
Despite a lost yardage book – and a new caddy – Suzann Pettersen is in a familiar spot on the Manulife LPGA Classic leaderboard, as after an 8-under-par 64, she’s tied for the lead.
“I’m usually a lot harder on my caddies and my team than today,” she said with a laugh. “But when you play well, the numbers are good, you’re not too much in between.”
Pettersen said she lost her yardage book from Whistle Bear Golf Club before arriving for this year’s tournament, and was dejected, as, with a victory under her belt here, she had clearly made some good notes.
“I had to get all my new notes, which is kind of a big deal,” she said. “I had to start from scratch. But I woke up this morning to perfect scoring conditions. You can fire at pins and get to par-5s, which is fun. Very happy with the opening round I played.”
Rookie Angel Yin not playing like one through 2017
Angel Yin is just about halfway through her first LPGA Tour season, but so far, she’s playing more like a wily veteran than an un-seasoned rookie.
Yin, who’s notched two top-5s earlier this year, was 6-under-par through her first nine, thanks to an eagle on the par-5 9th, had a few blemishes coming in – including a double-bogey on the par-3 14th – but was still happy with her result.
“Today was just hitting well, around the hole, and I made my putts. My putting and my second shots were really good today,” she said. “Overall I feel like I played really well today.”
Shanshan Feng continuing her great play
The last time Shanshan Feng teed it up, two weeks ago at the LPGA Volvik Championship, she emerged victorious.
The momentum from two weeks ago continued Thursday at the Manulife LPGA Classic, as she fired a 7-under-par 65 and sits tied for third, just one shot back of the lead.
“I think after I captured the victory at the Volvik Championship I think my condition is pretty good. Everything is not bad. I mean, my ball striking is as good as usual and my putting is working also. I think I made six birdies and an eagle today, rolled it from outside of the green. So I'm really happy about what I did today,” she said.
Feng had a birdie try that just slide by on her last hole of the day that would have got her into a tie for the lead, but she said she’s optimistic for tomorrow.
“Overall I did pretty well today, so just same game plan and three more days,” she explained.