South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon fired a three-under 68 to grab the first-round lead of the US Women’s Open at the Saucon Valley Country Club on Thursday.
Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, 2007 US Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr of the US and qualifier Jean Reynolds share second place at two-under 69. South Korea’s Park Hee-young is the only other player under par with a 70 on the difficult course on Thursday.
“I started well today, but I’m not going to let it slide and I’m just going to make sure that I play the best to the end,” Choi said. “I am really excited to start my round today and I thought this was going to be a very, very interesting week for me.”
LPGA Champion Anna Nordqvist, Taiwan’s Candie Kung, South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee, Kristy McPherson, South Korea’s Kim Young and American Alexis Thompson are knotted in sixth place at even-par 71.
Taiwan’s Teresa Lu shot a five-over 76 to be tied in 69th place, a shot ahead of Yani Tseng who carded a disappointing 77.
Meanwhile, the ladies tour was also making news off the greens on Thursday as Golfweek magazine reported on Thursday that embattled Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens had been ousted.
US newspapers reported that the Tour’s top players met in the past week to call for the resignation of Bivens.
The Golfweek report said Bivens is out as commissioner with two years remaining on her contract.
Nothing is official and if Bivens is on her way out, the players weren’t willing to discuss it.
“As I said in my press conference before, I want to focus on this tournament and the golf this week because the golf is really the thing that’s showcased, and as far as the LPGA stuff, I can’t really comment at this time,” Kerr said after her round on Thursday.
Kerr and World No. 1 Ochoa were reported to be in attendance at the controversial meeting. The Tour has lost seven tournaments in the past two years and several more are in danger of losing sponsorship deals.
Ochoa started on the 10th tee and birdied her opening hole. She made bogey on the 14th and then had one more birdie and one more bogey to turn in even-par.
“I think I made longer putts before, but this is the one I made with more breaks,” said Ochoa of her 50-foot birdie putt on the second. “It first went left and went right, went left and went left and then went right. I didn’t know what it was. It was like a good surprise.”
“Anything in the red numbers to start a US Open, I will always take it,” Ochoa said. “One round down and three to go.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER