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.
“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,” said Lopez, who hit just 11 of 18 greens. “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, other 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,” said Shin, who hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens with 26 putts in the first round. “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.
“This sounds cliche, but I just feel like it was one of those days. Golf just was easy,” said Lee, who holds the first-round lead/co-lead for just the fifth time in her nine-year LPGA Tour career. “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