Australian Hannah Green more than survived the nearly 30-mph winds that buffeted Oahu’s Hoakalei Country Club on Wednesday. She thrived. The major champion from Perth carded eight birdies and two bogeys in the first round of the 2022 LOTTE Championship and leads the field at -6. She is looking for her first victory since a two-win season in 2019.
“I hit the ball really good and I had nice numbers into the holes. It wasn't really ever like too many hard shots, which is quite hard here in Hawaii,” said Green, the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA winner and a 2020 Olympian. “But I feel like the windier it gets and the harder it gets, I like that. I feel like I like the challenge. I might not say that tomorrow if I have a bad score, but, you know, it makes you think. Yeah, those that play well are rewarded.”
Aditi Ashok, Gemma Dryburgh, Hyo Joo Kim, Alison Lee and Jodi Ewart Shadoff are tied for second at -5. Defending LOTTE champion Lydia Ko shot -3 and is tied for 11th.
“I felt like I kept it in play for most parts. The wind picked up quite a lot over my back nine, which is the front nine, so it made it a lot tougher out there,” said Ko, already a 2022 winner at the Gainbridge LPGA in January. “When it's like that you are grinding a little bit, but it's just as difficult for everyone. When it's downwind I feel like you can take advantage of some of the shorter holes. So, yeah, hopefully I'll be able to continue the solid play the next few days.”
Jennifer Kupcho, who won The Chevron Championship two weeks ago, was -1 through 12 holes but finished at +2 over after playing holes 13-15 at 4-over par.
Danielle Kang and Yaeeun Hong both withdrew on Wednesday due to injuries, Kang citing her back and Hong citing her neck.