American Annie Park on Thursday fired an eagle and seven birdies in a seven-under-par 65 to grab a one-shot lead in the Canadian Women’s Open, where she is hoping to stake a claim to a Solheim Cup berth.
“Definitely a lot of pressure coming into this week just thinking about Solheim right after this event,” Park said of the women’s match play showdown between the US and Europe.
“If I want something, I try really hard to get it,” said Park, who wants to make a first US Solheim Cup team.
Her first LPGA title at the ShopRite Classic last year helped boost her chances, but it will come down to her performance this week in the last qualifying event for the US team.
Park made a good start at Magna Golf Club near Toronto, where her course-record 65 carried her past defending champion Brooke Henderson, who had grabbed the clubhouse lead on 66.
Henderson was joined in second by Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen, South Korean Ko Jin-young and fellow Canadian Anne-Catherine Tanguay.
Park made the turn at four-under after her eagle at the ninth, and birdies at 11, 12, 14 and 15 had her aiming to improve on her previous career-best low round of 63.
However, Park cooled off a bit with her second bogey of the round at the 17th hole.
“Hopefully, maybe tomorrow or this week or someday I can break my own personal record,” Park said.
Although Henderson did not finish the day in the lead, it was an assured start to the 21-year-old’s title defense.
“It’s nice to be in a position where I had a good round, everything seemed to go right for me,” she said after firing seven birdies and one bogey in her 66. “Hopefully I can continue to stick to my game plan, make a lot of birdies, and I would love to be in this position on Sunday.”
Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling was tied for 16th on three-under 69, while Chien Pei-yun carded a two-over 74 for a share of 100th.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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