Queensland’s Katherine Hull-Kirk posted a five-under-par 67 to share seventh position and is just four shots adrift from Japan’s Ai Miyzato who sits on top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix.
It was a record-tying day for Miyazato who fired a blistering nine-under 63 which included seven birdies and one eagle at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Miyazato holds a two-stroke lead over South Korean Jee Young Lee. Taiwan’s Candie Kung, Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum and Americans Brittany Lang and Gerina Piller sit a further shot back. Hull-Kirk is one of four players at five-under.
The Japanese superstar, who has already won nine times on the LPGA, her round of nine-under-par tied a tournament low and her career-low round which she shot at the 2009 CN Canadian Women’s Open. Miyazato only needed 23 putts during her first round and credited solid ball striking and good course management for her stellar round.
“I hit the ball well and my putting was really good,” said Miyazato. “I think I had good course management as well and I could control myself really well, too, so it was a good day.”
Hull-Kirk leads the Australian contingent. She started on the 10th and got off to a great start with a birdie on her opening hole. Unfortunately she followed the birdie with a bogey on the 11th. She then posted back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to go out in 34. A birdie on the 2nd was followed by a bogey on the 4th hole. However Hull followed up her bogey with a birdie on the very next hole, before once again posting back-to-back birdies on the 7th and 8th holes to come home in 33.
Victorian Lindsey Wright, who missed the opening three LPGA events through injury, would have been pleased with her first competitive round of 2013. She shot a four-under-par 68 to be tied for 11th position.
Queensland’s Karrie Webb, who is a former champion of this event was out early and carded 70 to be tied for 39th position.
The projected cut line is one-under-par. Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith (72) and New South Wales’ Sarah Kemp (72) are both just a shot off the projected cut line and in a tie for 83rd, while New South Wales' Julia Boland is a further shot back and tied for 95th position.
The defending champion this week is Rolex World No. 1 Yani Tseng, currently tied for 39th at two-under.