Former University of Southern California Trojan Jennifer Chang matched her lowest career round on the LPGA Tour on Thursday at the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America, notching a 6-under 65 to open the week at Palos Verdes Golf Club. Day one saw Chang go bogey-free, carding six birdies including four straight on holes 4-7, and the 22-year-old had only 25 putts to get the job done in damp, chilly conditions.
“I put myself in a good position on the green and converted all the putts,” said Chang, who hit 12 of 18 greens and 11 of 14 fairways in round one. “Today my putting was just super solid. Wasn't hitting it great, but I was missing it in the right spots. I didn't think much about it. I think it just kept happening. I didn't make a lot of long putts. I put it inside 15 feet and converted most of them.”
Chang first earned LPGA Tour Membership in 2019 after finishing T9 in LPGA Q-Series and was one of the 2020 rookies awarded a second chance at their inaugural year on Tour through 2021. While she carded T8 and T13 finishes last year at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala and the Cognizant Founders Cup respectively, Chang ultimately finished 104th in the Race to the CME Globe and had to go back to Q-Series last December to improve her status for the 2022 season. Chang ended up retaining her card, finishing in a tie for 16th. Through four starts, Chang has missed three cuts so far this year, however, she’s off to a good start this week after her Thursday 65 at Palos Verdes Golf Club, a round that has Chang feeling positive about the remaining 54 holes.
“It's a home course. We've always had a tournament every year,” she said. “I never really played that well during that time, but I think having experience out here does help. The contours of these greens, there are a lot of severe slopes that you don't see. Just having experience putting off this green, just being familiar with it, is a pretty big advantage. I'm just going to keep my head down. Obviously, there is still a lot of golf left. Just keeping the same routine that I've had and hoping it pays off.”