Inbee Park shot a first-round 67 at Wilshire Country Club and leads the Hugel-JTBC LA Open by one shot over Marina Alex.The 29-year old South Korean finished her first day in Los Angeles offsetting a single bogey with six birdies, highlighted by four-straight gains on Nos. 12-15.
“I played really well out there. Especially being the new golf course. I didn’t know how it was going to play,” said Park.
“The course played really good. Really suited me. I putted really well out there, so I was really happy with that.”
Aided by a hot putter, Alex got off to a sizzling start, carding birdies on 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 to turn at 31. A birdie on No. 11 had the American atop the leaderboard alongside Park at 5-under par, but a late bogey on No. 17 dropped her back to 4-under 68.
“I putted really, really well today. I made a lot of the putts that I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t have expected to make,” said Alex.
Lexi Thompson hit 16 of 18 greens en route to a 3-under 68 to headline a group of seven players tied for third.
“It’s a placement golf course, just getting in the fairways. The greens are definitely a little bit softer, so it’s all about controlling your spin into the green,” said Thompson said, who also hit 11 of 14 fairways.
“It definitely suited my eye. I like it. Hopefully have a good next few days.”
Moriya Jutanugarn, Aditi Ashok, Caroline Inglis, Eun-Hee Ji, Pernilla Lindberg, and Emma Talley were the others at 68.
Playing on a sponsor’s invite, Natalie Gulbis posted a surprising 2-under 70 to sit T10.
TOP 10 LEADERS
1 Inbee Park -5
2 Marina Alex -4
3 Lexi Thompson -3
3 Moriya Jutanugarn -3
3 Aditi Ashok -3
3 Caroline Inglis -3
3 Eun-Hee Ji -3
3 Pernilla Lindberg -3
3 Emma Talley -3
10 Minjee Lee -2
10 Katherine Kirk -2
10 Lindsey Weaver -2
10 Azahara Munoz -2
10 Natalie Gulbis -2
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