On a day of low scoring, Australian rookie Julia Boland carded her low round of the year on the LPGA, a four-under-par 68, to be just four shots off the lead after the opening round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf at Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii.
Boland, who is tied for 14th, went out in 33 after birdies on the 1st, 5th and 8th holes on the front nine. She then posted back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th to move to five-under-par, before finishing bogey-birdie-bogey.
Seventeen-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn fired an 8-under 64 on Wednesday to take the first-round lead. Jutanugarn made seven birdies, one eagle and one bogey en route to tying the tournament record of 64. The Thailand native leads Rolex Rankings No. 6 Suzann Pettersen and South Korean Hee Kyung Seo by one shot after both fired rounds.
“I have like really good front nine, but I just want to like make more birdies because my record is 8 under, so I want to be lower,” said Jutanugarn, who shot 30 on the front nine. “When I have bogey on No. 10 I feel not very confident with my putting. So when I have eagle [on the 14th], it make me like more confidence.”
Jutanugarn is a rookie on the Ladies European Tour and recently won her first professional event on the LET in Morrocco. She earned one of the final two spots in this week’s event by winning the Sunday qualifier with a score of 68. The youngster is no stranger to LPGA fans, as she came within one hole of capturing a victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand back in February. Jutanugarn made a triple-bogey on the 72nd hole to lose to Inbee Park in her home country by one stroke.
Jutanugarn set the pace for the field Wednesday but on a day when the winds were blowing far less than is typical in Hawaii, many players were able to take advantage of the favorable scoring conditions. A total of 77 players finished under par in Wednesday’s opening round and there were 15 players who shot 68-or-lower.
Karrie Webb is the next best placed Australian, she is a shot further back from Boland after recording four birdies and one bogey. Webb shares 16th position after the first round. Queensland Katherine Hull-Kirk posted a two-under-par 70 and is one of 25 players tied for 27th position. Victorian Lindsey Wright bogey the 18th to finish at one-under-par and is tied for 52nd position.
New South Wales Sarah Kemp is at two-over and tied for 116th, while Sarah Jane Smith is a further shot back and tied for 127th. Both players have some work to do to get into the top 70 to play the week-end.