Queensleader’s Karrie Webb and Sarah-Jane Smith share 23rd position after posting even-par rounds of 72 during the opening round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship being played at the Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, California.
The importance of hitting the fairways this week was evident during the first round, which sees Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, South Korean Na-Yeon Cho and England’s Jodie Ewart Shadoff tied for the lead after carding four-under-par’s,68, on the Dinah Shore tournament course.
Major championship golf courses aren’t supposed to be easy, and with shoe-swallowing, four-inch rough surrounding the twisting fairways of the par-72, 6,600-plus-yard test, this week promises to continue the norm.
Neither Choi nor Pettersen, who happened to be grouped in an early morning twosome, made a bogey. Choi, No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings, hit 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens. No. 8 Pettersen found nine of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation.
Choi and Pettersen were the only players in the field who managed to navigate the day without a stumble. Ewart Shadoff was the exception among the tri-leaders, mixing six birdies and two bogeys, but still hit eight fairways and 13 greens.
“No, and we weren't really close to making one,” Pettersen said about her bogey-less pairing. “I made one good up-and-down when I missed the fairway on 15 -- had an up-and-down from the bunker. That was pretty much the only kind of tough par I had out there.”
“We played solid, both of us. It was a nice pace of play. It's really nice to get around in just over four hours. It really helps. It keeps the flow going, and like I said, I felt like I maybe left a few out there, but no complaints.”
Swede Anna Nordqvist and South Korean Amy Yang share fourth position at three-under-par, while 11 players share sixth position a further shot adrift including American Jessica Korda, Italian Giulia Sergas and South Korean Jiyai Shin.
Of the Australians, Smith and Victorian Lindsey Wright were out in the morning field. Smith posted two birdies and two bogeys, while Wright had an interesting day posting three birdies, three bogeys and a double at the par 3 14th. Wright finished the day at two-over-par and tied for 53rd position.
Webb and fellow compatriot Katherine Hull-Kirk were out in the afternoon. Webb carded three bogeys with three birdies in her even par round. Webb couldn’t have easily been a couple of shots better, including a lip out for eagle from the greenside bunker on the par 5 11th hole, she did tap in for birdie. A couple of missed putts also could have easily dropped.
Hull-Kirk had a horrible day posting a 10-over-par 82. Her round included seven bogeys, two doubles and one birdie. Hull-Kirk is in 110 position. The projected cut is three-over and the top 70 and ties will tee it up Saturday and Sunday.
Defending champion South Korean Sun Young Soo has some work to do to make the cut, let alone defend her title. She is sitting outside the projected cut line at five-over-par and in a tie for 90th position.
Rolex World No.1 Stacy Lewis is at one-over par, an errant tee shot into the water on the par 3, 14th was costly, she walked off with a triple bogey.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko played well in her first appearance at the Championship, she carded an even par round to be tied for 23rd with the likes of Webb and Smith.