Englishwoman Jodi Ewart Shadoff showed out early on Thursday at the BMW Ladies Championship, carding a bogey-free, 7-under 65 to sit in a tie for fifth and three back of first-round leader Ashleigh Buhai. Ewart Shadoff shot out of the gate at the Seowon Hills course at Seowon Valley Country Club, grabbing a birdie on the par-5 1st hole and then birdied again on the par-3 4th hole. She parred the next three holes, making another birdie on 8, the final one of her front nine, and the 35-year-old turned in 33, sitting at 3-under with nine holes to play.
She recorded back-to-back pars on 10 and 11 before snagging another birdie on No. 12 to move to 4-under, and after parring 13 and 14, Ewart Shadoff landed a one-two punch of birdies on holes 15 and 16. The LPGA Tour winner closed out the day with one last birdie on the par-4 18th hole to post at 7-under, her lowest first-round score since round one of the 2022 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, which Ewart Shadoff ultimately won after carding an 8-under 64 on day one.
The 65 ties Ewart Shadoff’s lowest round of the 2023 season, which she last carded on day two of the Portland Classic, and also ties her second-lowest career first-round score. It’s just the fifth time that Ewart Shadoff has been bogey-free this year, and it’s her first bogey-free round since Saturday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship when she made 17 pars and an eagle in the third round to post a 2-under 69. Ewart Shadoff was pleased with how she struck the ball on Thursday in the Republic of Korea but was particularly proud of her lag putting, something that will be critical this week considering the size of the greens at Seowon Valley Country Club.
“The greens are really big out here, so it's key to get the ball as close as you can and try and limit the three-putts as much as possible,” said Ewart Shadoff, who hit 14 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens on Thursday. “I think pace putting is really key out here. I was striking the ball really well with my irons. So overall, I was hitting the ball really close, but on the longer trickier putts, I had really good pace, so I think that was key too.”
This is the 2022 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship winner’s 21st tournament of the season, and in her 20 previous starts, she has earned five top-10 finishes, two of which were in her two most recent starts at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America. She finished in a tie for 10th in both of those events and was incredibly proud of recording back-to-back top 10s, something she has only done a handful of times in her 13-year LPGA Tour career. Ewart Shadoff credits a few tweaks she made in her swing and her hard work with the flat stick as the reasons for her consistency as of late, both things that seem to be working well thus far for her at the BMW Ladies Championship.
“I have been working really hard on my putting over the last couple of months,” said Ewart Shadoff. “But I kind of found something heading into Arkansas, and I putted well over in Arkansas and Dallas. I had a couple of top 10s there. It was nice to come off of two top 10s in a row. It just shows how consistent I'm playing. I had a nice week off last week and found a couple of things in my swing. Iron play has kind of been letting me down a little bit over the last month or so, so I worked on that, and it's showing.”