Mon, 17 Feb 2020

Korda on top after 1st round at new Boca event

Field Level Media
24 Jan 2020, 10:25 GMT+10

Jessica Korda, looking for her first win in nearly two years, built a two-shot lead Thursday in the first round of the inaugural Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Boca Raton, Fla.

Korda fired a 6-under-par 66 at Boca Rio Golf Club. South Korea's Sei Young Kim, the winner of the 2019 season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, and two rookies, Japan's Yui Kawamoto and Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit, share second place at 4 under.

Lindsey Weaver, Spain's Carlota Ciganda and China's Xiyu Lin are tied for fifth at 3 under, and eight players are tied for eighth at 2 under.

Twelve players did not complete the first round before darkness halted the rain-delayed first round at 5:51 p.m. ET. That dozen will finish the round early Saturday morning before playing the second round.

Korda, a 26-year-old Florida native, said, "It's beautiful to be able to drive to a tournament; doesn't happen that often, at least in my own car. So yeah, it's been really nice. And I'm staying at home this week, which is even nicer.

"It's kind of weird actually staying at home because I don't really know what to do. It's not like a hotel room where everything is, like everything is in its space and you only bring a certain amount of things. All of a sudden I have all these options. I don't really know what to do with that right now, but I'm still trying to prepare the way that I would in the hotel."

Korda carded four birdies and a bogey on the back nine, then repeated that pattern on the front nine.

"Nice to put a good round up there," Korda said.

Tavatanakit, who earned three wins on the second-level Symetra Tour last year, produced four birdies in a bogey-free round Thursday during her debut as an LPGA Tour member.

"I've been waiting to come out here for three months, since the start of the offseason, which was kind of stressful," Tavatanakit said. "I was a little intimidated by the idea of the LPGA Tour and being out here, the transition from the Symetra Tour and three rounds to just a different environment, everyone takes it seriously out here. After I cut out those thoughts and focused on what I have to do, it has been working pretty well."

Kawamoto had five birdies and just one bogey in her season debut after arriving from the Japanese tour.

"It's totally different from Japan," she said. "I was very excited but also nervous, and I'm really happy that I finished like this today.

"Becoming [an] LPGA member is one of my big dreams. I've been working hard to be on this stage, so I'm very happy to be here and looking forward to it."

Kim's round including six birdies and two bogeys.

--Field Level Media

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