Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Three share first-round lead at LPGA Drive On

Field Level Media
24 Mar 2023, 14:19 GMT+10

Mexico's Gaby Lopez recorded a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to grab a share of the first-round lead at the LPGA Drive On Championship in Gold Canyon, Ariz.

Alison Lee and South Korea's Jenny Shin also shot 7 under at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club.

England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Taiwan's Wei-Ling Hsu share fourth place at 6 under.

Megan Khang, Lilia Vu, Spain's Azahara Munoz and Carlota Ciganda, Canada's Maddie Szeryk, Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit and Moriya Jutanugarn, South Korea's Jeongeun Lee6 and Na Rin An, and Taiwan's Peiyun Chien are tied for sixth place at 5 under.

Lopez, starting on the back nine, opened with two birdies, then scattered five more birdies through the rest of her round. The 29-year-old Mexico City native is looking for her fourth career win, with her most recent victory having come in the Dana Open last September in Sylvania, Ohio.

Lopez, who hit just 11 of 18 greens in regulation, said of her approach to the course, "I think it's going to get just firmer as the week goes on, especially with like cool mornings, so being able to just be very strategic with iron play (is key). Sometimes you want to hold it from the fairway but you have a landing area, so just got to be very disciplined hitting it 5 yards left and making a 15-footer rather than go pin-seeking."

Shin was at even par through her first seven holes before reeling off four consecutive birdies around the turn. She added consecutive birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 and concluded with another birdie.

"I had a lot of 12-footers and I managed to make quite a lot of them," Shin said. "Process is going to be the same. Got to keep knocking the door and see if it'll open up one day."

Lee had four instances of back-to-back birdies and wound up with nine birdies, though she mixed in one bogey on each nine.

Lee said, "This sounds cliche, but I just feel like it was one of those days. Golf just was easy. The putter was great. I honestly was playing so good, I feel like I could have shot a lower round out there today. Obviously, can't complain. Happy with the result."

The two players who are tied for first in the season-long standings, Nelly Korda and South Korea's Jin Young Ko, are tied for 48th at 2 under. Also at 2 under is defending tournament champion Leona Maguire of Ireland.

--Field Level Media

Sign up for Seoul News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!