Frenchwoman Perrine Delacour got off to a hot start on Thursday at the AIG Women's Open, carding a 3-under 69 to sit near the top of the leaderboard through 18 holes at Walton Heath Golf Club. It was a bit of a dodgy start for the 29-year-old as she bogeyed the par-4, 2nd hole, but she quickly erased that mistake with a birdie on the fourth. Delacour dropped another shot on the par-3, 9th hole and again slipped up on No. 11 to move to 2-over on the day; however, instead of letting that get to her, the LPGA Tour veteran dug deep and put the pedal down in her last seven holes. She made five birdies in that final stretch, three of which came consecutively on holes 16, 17 and 18, and gave credit to her flat stick for her solid showing on the first day of the final major of the 2023 LPGA Tour season.
"My putting was pretty good, especially on the back nine," said Delacour, who recorded 29 putts in the first round. "I birdied the last three holes, but I also birdied 14 and 12. Putting was working definitely pretty good. I'm seeing pretty good the putts, and then my caddie helps me a lot. So we are kind of a pretty good team together."
Delacour is making just her fourth start in the AIG Women's Open this week, and in her last three appearances in the event in 2020, 2021 and 2022, she finished T39, T34 and missed the cut, respectively. The 69 is her lowest first-round score in this major championship and ties her second-lowest first-round score of the 2023 season, which she last shot at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro in April. It's also Delacour's 11th round in the 60s this year. This is her 14th start of the season, and thus far, she has earned five top 20 finishes, the best of which is a ninth-place result that came at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards.
While many players would be trying to bottle up whatever she found on day one in Surrey, England, Delacour has already turned the page on her impressive first round and will instead focus on readying herself and her game for another battle with Walton Heath on Friday. Success at major championships generally requires a short memory, and that's something that Delacour has been emphasizing as of late.
"Tomorrow it's a new day," she said. "I've been working with my team on trying to not replicate it both days. Tomorrow is going to come, and I'm going to have a new feeling. I'm going to try to listen to my body and see from there."