When 18-time LPGA Tour winner Lydia Ko missed the first par-5 hole, she didn’t know how Thursday would play out at the CME Group Tour Championship. But in true Lydia Ko fashion, she found some magic at Tiburon Golf Club, birdie-ing on 8 of her next 14 holes to post a 7-under 65 and take the lead in the final event of the year. . The 65 is KO’s lowest first round score in the CME Group Tour Championship and ties his second lowest opening round of the season. It is only the third time this year that she has scored 65 or better in the first round – she last opened with a 65 at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open where she eventually finished tied for fifth place – and Ko was proud of her ability to bounce back from that bogey on the first, something other players may have considered a bad omen.
“It wasn’t the start I had planned to go to sleep yesterday, but I knew there was a lot of golf to play,” Ko said. “Regardless of the circumstances, I think with the wind blowing today was going to be a tough set of holes to start with so I wanted to not get too caught up with how I started and just be patient there I think that’s going to be a big key this week. It’s 72 holes. The LPGA’s top 60 players are here this week, so you know there’s going to be so much great golf. You’re just trying to play golf as well as everyone else.”
Ko won the CME Group Tour Championship in 2014 when she beat Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada in the playoffs with a par on the extra fourth hole. Nine long years have passed since that victory and Ko has evolved both on and off the golf course. But the same competitiveness remains, and with Rolex Player of the Year honors, the Vare Trophy and a $2 million check on the line, you can bet Ko will continue to attack Tiburon Golf Club and give it their all. over the next 54 holes.
“I think when you come to a golf course where you’ve played for quite a while, you’re able to assess that you’re going to have good days and bad days, but I hope to kind of bring it all together. Ko said. “The last time I won here was in 2014, nine years ago, and a lot has happened since then. I think the level of play has steadily improved over my time on Tour. So I know that if I did the exact same thing, I might not be the one holding the trophy right now. So I just try to play the best golf possible. I think that’s all I can do. I just want to focus on myself and play without any regrets.
Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn and Major Champion Danielle Kang tied for second after earning a matching 6 under 66 card. Kang was bogey-free on day one at Tiburon, hitting 14 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, and the 66 is now his lowest CME Group Tour Championship first-round score. As she contemplates the next three rounds, Kang will continue to focus on the swing changes she’s been working on with longtime coach Butch Harmon, adjustments that have made all the difference for the six-time Tour winner. the LPGA since returning to competition. golf in August after undergoing treatment for a spinal tumor.
“I worked on a lot of different mechanics with Butch and I know he made a lot of things easier.
I have a bunch of notes written on my glove because I can’t remember the basics, but when I do it right I miss it in the right places,” Kang said. “I have more opportunities. I know it’s only Thursday, but I’m really happy to have had a really good run today. So take it day by day.
Anannarukarn became a Rolex First-Time Winner at last year’s ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland when she beat Emma Talley in the playoffs. Although she said Thursday’s windy conditions were certainly difficult, playing in the wind helps her focus more. “I’m not going to lie, but I find it a bit difficult any time you play in windy, windy conditions,” Anannarukarn said. “I feel what I’m trying to do just to try to stay focused on every shot I can. Especially when there’s strong wind or gusts of wind. Just try to stay focused.
Two players are tied for fourth place at -5; First-time Rolex winner Gemma Dryburgh and the 2022 LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei winner Hyo Joo Kim, who is playing for the first time in the United States since the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G in September. Seven players are tied at -4, including Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 Nelly Korda, 2021 AIG Women’s Open winner Anna Nordqvist and 2022 Amundi Evian champion Brooke Henderson. Two-time defending champion Jin Young Ko started with an even par 72 and currently sits tied for 35th.