LOS ANGELES: Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland fired a six-under-par 66 to take the clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted Canadian Pacific Women’s Open on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Meadow, 24, carded seven birdies and one bogey to tame the challenging par-72 layout at Calgary’s Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club.
The Northern Irish youngster arrived in Alberta fresh from representing her country at the Rio Olympics, where golf returned to the Games after a 112-year absence.
Meadow said she was still buoyed after finishing in a respectable tie for 31st in Rio.
“I think Rio was a huge adrenaline rush for everyone that was there,” she said.
“I know all of us had a fantastic experience. I played pretty good in the second round there, too. I think I definitely took some confidence and am rolling it into this week.”
Meadow is chasing her first LPGA victory since turning professional in 2014. She has played just one of four LPGA majors this year, missing the cut at the ANA Inspiration.
She is likely to face a stiff challenge heading into the weekend, however, with New Zealand’s world number-one Lydia Ko lurking one shot off the pace at five under.
Ko started slowly, dropping a shot with a bogey on the third before rattling off six birdies over the remainder of her round to remain firmly within striking distance.
Ko, silver medalist in Rio, said torrential rain which disrupted play had made for variable conditions.
“The greens were a little bit softer than what we were playing, so shots that you thought would run out like 10 yards, some of them even spun back,” she said. “I don’t think we could have seen that if there wasn’t the rain.”
Ko was tied with two South Korean players, Lee Mi-Rim and Hur Mi-Jung.
Four players completed rounds of 68, including South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon and Chun In-Gee.
The first round will be completed on Friday.