MONTREAL: Marina Alex set the early pace, and her five-under par 66 was good for a one-shot lead Thursday (Friday in Manila) after the first round of the LPGA’s Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in Ottawa.
Alex, who just missed out on a berth in last week’s Solheim Cup, at least had the luxury of being well rested as she tackled the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club course.
And her early tee time meant she enjoyed great scoring conditions at the start of her round.
“They were rolling unbelievably well,” she said of the greens. “Really quick. The nice thing is they’re still a bit soft, so the shots are holding into the greens, so it kind of makes for a good combo.
“You can hit shots in there pretty tight, and then you have really nice pace to hold them.”
Alex said her performance on the greens was the key to her round.
“I hope I can just carry that into the next couple days and just tidy up the ball-striking a little bit,” she said.
South Korea’s Chun In-Gee and England’s Holly Clyburn shared second on 67.
Seven golfers were a shot further back on 68 — China’s Feng Shanshan, South Korea’s Kim Sei-Young and Kang Hae-Ji, Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, and Americans Brittany Lincicome and Angel Yin.
Both Lincicome and Yin played on the US team that beat Europe in the Solheim Cup match play showdown last week.
Yin said the experience would help fuel the remainder of her rookie LPGA campaign.
“I had a blast. It was the best experience I’ve ever had playing golf,” the teenager said of her Solheim Cup debut.
“And now I think I’m better with a huge crowd. Honestly, I feel more comfortable. It was amazing.”
World number one Ryu So-Yeon of South Korea, who won this title in 2014, headed a group of 13 golfers on two-under 69.
The group also included American Rachel Rohanna, who got into the field as an alternate when South Korean star Park In-Bee withdrew on Thursday with back trouble.