Alison Lee was one of six players to return bogey-free rounds on Wednesday, carding birdies on 1, 3, 10, 13 and 18. She pointed to her putter as the strongest element of her game, a claim backed up by her stats. She needed just 25 putts to complete her first round.
“Today was one of those days I was able to read the greens and kind of knew where it was going to go; just kind of had that feel out there. That's what you need,” said Lee, who one-putted seven of her first nine greens. “I started off the day with two good putts, and I feel like sometimes you just need, the beginning of the round you just kind of need like a good testy putt to kind of go in, and then you kind of get a good feel for the greens for the rest of the round.”
Lee comes to Hawaii fresh off a tie for eighth at The Chevron Championship, her best finish since she finished second at the 2016 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship. The amateur star made an immediate splash on the LPGA Tour, taking 11 top-10 finishes in her first two years and earning a spot on the 2015 USA Solheim Cup team as a rookie. But after that initial success, Lee’s game cooled significantly. She went nearly five years between top-10s and had to return to LPGA Q Series in 2018 and 2019.
In 2021, Lee finally broke back into the top 19 with a ninth-place finish at the BMW Ladies Championship. Now, she finally feels like she’s back in a place to compete on the LPGA Tour.
“My game is pretty solid right now. I would say as the year went on, I feel like I've been slowly building up every week and getting a little bit better,” she said. “Coming off Chevron, getting top 10, that obviously gave me a lot of confidence coming into this week and setting a good tone for the rest of the year. So I'm just trying to build on it every week that I'm out here and just try and get better.”