By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 01/08/20 12:29am
Danielle Kang was pleasantly surprised to find herself in the lead as the LPGA Tour resumed with the Drive On Championship at historic Inverness in Ohio.
Kang fired a bogey-free 66 to head the field on six under ahead of Solheim Cup stars Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Celine Boutier, although the American did not know where she stood as there are no leaderboards on the course.
“I feel pretty good, but I didn’t know I was in the lead until you just told me,” Kang said to reporters shortly after closing out her opening round with her sixth birdie of the day at the last.
“There aren’t any leaderboards on the golf course. I’m a leaderboard watcher, so that’s a bit different, not knowing where the leaders are standing. I believe we can check our apps and phones and stuff, but my phone is usually off when I play.
“So I guess there is positives and negatives to both. I just try and take the positives. If there is no leaderboard, I’ll focus on my game. If there is a leaderboard, I know where I stand.”
But, asked is she or her caddie would be tempted to check their phones over the final two rounds, Kang added: “No, I wouldn’t do it. I have enough things to worry about on the golf course. It’s better off, so it is what it is. Just go with the flow.”
Ewart Shadoff is in outright second place after the English star also went bogey-free in her 67, with three consecutive birdies from the second hole giving her an excellent platform.
“Pretty pleased,” was her modest description of her performance. “I mean, Inverness is so difficult. You really have to be accurate off the tee, and obviously the greens are tiny.
“But I’m hitting the ball really well. I hit 15 greens today, which is key around here. So overall pretty happy. Obviously I’ve not competed in almost six months, so pretty happy.”
Boutier and South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace both slipped to four under after they bogeyed the last to card 68s, while former world No 1 Lydia Ko fired a 69 in her first competitive round since linking up with her latest new swing coach, Sean Foley.
“He hasn’t ripped anything apart,” Ko said of Foley, who is the seventh swing coach to be employed by the New Zealander in her career. “He said what I had there was still pretty good. So, very small things.”
Only 18 of the 132 players in the field managed to break the par of 72 on a course which has hosted six major championships, including the first of its four US Opens 100 years ago.
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European Solheim Cup stars Carlota Ciganda (70) and Anne Van Dam (71) would have been pleased with their opening efforts, while two-time Rose Ladies Series winner Gemma Dryburgh carded a respectable 73,
Mel Reid and Stephanie Meadow returned a 74s, but it was a tough first day for Bronte Law as she stumbled to five bogeys in six holes on a torrid front nine and went on to fire a 78.
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August 1, 2020, 11:00pm