Five’s a crowd atop Kingsmill leaderboard
WILLIAMSBURG, VA. Annie Park turned a blistering stretch on the back nine into a mistake-free 6-under 65 and a share of the first-round lead on a crowded leaderboard Thursday at the Kingsmill Championship.
Jessica Korda, Azahara Munoz, In Gee Chun and Jaye Marie Green also shot 65. Park, Korda and Munoz played morning rounds in mild conditions, while Chun and Green played in rain that is expected to also be a factor Friday and Saturday on the resort’s River Course.
Three of the five Canadians in the tourney each shot 2-under 69 to share 29th position including Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City, Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que. and Brittany Marchand of Orangeville, Ont. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont. had 1-under 70 to sit in a tie for 48th spot while Alana Sharp of Hamilton struggled at 2-over 73.
Park, seeking her first career victory, was two under when she hit the flag and birdied the par-four 14th hole. She then nearly holed her second shot on the par-five 15th after hitting “an OK 3-wood” that left her with a short eagle putt, and also birdied the par-four 16th.
“Overall, I had a great day,” she said. “I hit some good shots. Lucky enough, I had some short birdie putts, short eagle putt, and that helps.”
Munoz had seven birdies and one bogey, and Korda and Chun were bogey-free. Green had seven birdies and bogeyed No. 18.
Munoz earned her only tour win in 2012, and settled in after starting with a bogey.
Korda, the winner of the Honda LPGA Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery, is making just her seventh start of the season and has finished in the top 10 in four of them. She had three birdies on each nine. Chun is making just her seventh start of the season, and Green has missed four of eight cuts.
Nasa Hataoka and 2016 winner Ariya Jutanugarn were one back. Hataoka’s bogey-free round included an ace at the par-three 17th. It was her first as a professional. There were nine more at 67, including 2015 champion Minjee Lee.
Azahara Munoz hits a chip shot to the ninth green during first-round action Thursday at the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va. Munoz, who carded seven birdies, was one of five players sharing the lead after shooting 6-under 65.