Choi, Icher Share Early Lead at Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Bank of Hope Founders Cup Chella Choi

After the opening round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Karine Icher and Chella Choi are tied for the lead at 5-under par 67.

On a day when winds reached 25 mph and the temperatures seemed to barely hit 70, Choi made her way around Wildfire Golf Club bogey-free until a late stumble on 18.

“It was windy and tough out there, but every player (is) in (the) same condition, so I try to calm myself and control myself,” Choi said.

Meanwhile, Icher was also navigating the Phoenix course without a blemish until two (Nos. 15 and 18) over her final four holes.

“It’s completely different. The fairway doesn’t roll at all and big rough. Last year we had much more roll off the fairway and no rough,” said Icher.

“And the wind. The wind and the temperature. Usually in Phoenix we play in the 90s; today was probably in the 70s, or 60s this morning. So it’s a different course, but we have to adapt.”

Ariya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park headline a group of six players tied for third at 4-under par 68.

Defending champion Ann Nordqvist signed for a 3-under par 69 to sit T9 alongside a half dozen more players, including a pair of top-ranked stars in Jessica Korda and Sung Hyun Park.

A logjam of 14 players were one further back at 2-under par, including tournament headliner Michelle Wie.

TOP 10

1 Karine Icher -5
1 Chella Choi -5
3 Ariya Jutanugarn -4
3 Inbee Park -4
3 Lizette Salas -4
3 Cydney Clanton -4
3 Mariajo Uribe -4
3 Hee Young Park -4
9 Alison Lee -3
9 Daniela Holmqvist -3
9 Jessica Korda -3
9 Anna Nordqvist -3
9 Sung Hyun Park -3
9 Maude-Aimee Leblanc -3
9 Katherine Kirk -3
9 Pornanong Phatlum -3


1 Yu Liu 282.0 (+3)
2 Cydney Clanton 278.0 (-4)
3 Angel Yin 277.0 (E)

1 Maria Torres 14/14 (E)
1 Ayako Uehara 14/14 (E)
1 Gemma Dryburgh 14/14 (+4)

1 Karine Icher 15/18 (-5)
1 Lizette Salas 15/18 (-4)
1 Alison Lee 15/18 (-3)
1 Brianna Do 15/18 (-1)
1 Nasa Hataoka 15/18 (E)

1 Austin Ernst 1.40 (+1)
2 Mariajo Uribe 1.50 (-4)
2 Paula Reto 1.50 (+2)


Chella Choi’s near ace on the par-3 14th hole.


“Yeah, I think on days like this I just feel really proud of myself for staying in there. Even when I made bogey, not think about it too much, but just to move on and try to make birdie.”
– Michelle Wie

Credits: LPGA Communications, Getty Images


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