Pernilla Lindberg opened with a bogey-free 7-under 65 and is the surprise leader of the ANA Inspiration after day one.
Lindberg, who has never won on the LPGA Tour, signed for a scorecard comprised of 11 pars and seven birdies, highlighted by gains on each of the four par 5s.
“I started off solid and ended even better. The whole day it was pretty steady. I was never in too much trouble,” said Lindberg, who hit 14 of 18 greens, and needed just 25 putts.
“Sure, I was in the rough a few times and had to make a couple of good up-and-downs around the greens, but I never put myself under too much stress. Rolled in a few good putts and just gave myself a lot of good chances.”
One stroke back at 6-under 66 were two more longshots: Ayako Uehara, a 34-year-old from Japan, who has also never won on the LPGA, and Beatriz Recari, a three-time Tour winner, but whose last win came in 2013.
“Overall I just played really solid, and I’m very happy with how I went on my first round, and I just want to keep it up the next few days.” said Recari, whose best ANA finish in eight starts is T25 (2013).
Albane Valenzuela, a 20-year-old amateur from Switzerland who plays at Stanford University, posted a 5-under 67 to sit T4 alongside Jessica Korda and Ha Na Jang.
At 4-under par is a star-studded group that includes Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Sung Hyun Park, In Gee Chun, Chella Choi and Brittany Altomare.
Defending champion So Yeon Ryu struggled to a 3-over par 75 and sits T94.
1 Pernilla Lindberg -7
2 Ayako Uehara -6
2 Beatriz Recari -6
4 Ha-Na Jang -5
4 Jessica Korda -5
4 Albane Valenzuela -5
7 Brittany Altomare -4
7 Cristie Kerr -4
7 Sung Hyun Park -4
7 Chella Choi -4
7 In Gee Chun -4
7 Lexi Thompson -4
13 Charley Hull -3
20 Brooke Henderson -2
20 Lydia Ko -2
20 Inbee Park -2
20 Paula Creamer -2
36 In-Kyung Kim -1
36 Shanshan Feng -1
36 Nelly Korda -1
56 Ariya Jutanugarn E
56 Stacy Lewis E
73 Brittany Lincicome +1
73 Marina Alex +1
73 Anna Nordqvist +1
87 Juli Inkster +2
94 Danielle Kang +3
94 Lizette Salas +3
94 So Yeon Ryu +3
94 Michelle Wie +3
106 Brittany Lang +4
116 Laura Davies +9
- Pernilla Lindberg is playing in her seventh ANA Inspiration; her best finish is T18 in 2016
- This is the first lead in a major for Lindberg; her best career major finish is T5 (2015 U.S. Women’s Open)
- Lindberg is looking for the first victory of her nine-year LPGA career
- Lindberg is trying to join Helen Alfredsson and Annika Sorenstam as players from Sweden to win the ANA Inspiration
- Beatriz Recari is playing in her eighth ANA Inspiration; her best finish is T25 in 2013
- Ayako Uehara is playing in her sixth ANA Inspiration; her best finish is T19 in 2013, her tournament debut
- Amateur Albane Valenzuela’s first-round 67, which is the second-lowest round ever returned by an amateur at the ANA Inspiration
- Caroline Keggi (third round, 1988) and Michelle Wie (third round, 2003) both returned rounds of 66
- Jessica Korda is playing in her eighth ANA Inspiration; her best finish is T11 in 2017
- Ha Na Jang is playing in her fifth ANA Inspiration and has never missed the cut; her best finish is T21 in 2017
- The scoring average for the morning wave was 71.88, while the scoring average for the afternoon wave was 72.18
- Three players hit 13 of 14 fairways on Thursday – Jessica Korda, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Minjee Lee
- 2017 Rolex Co-Player of the Year Sung Hyun Park led the field by hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation
- At 327 yards, Lexi Thompson currently leads the field in drive distance average (measured on the second and third holes)
VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY
A hole in one by Olafia Kristinsdottir on the par-3 17th.
“I really didn’t expect it to go in, so I was a bit shocked. I’ve never had a hole in one before, so it’s never happened to me. But it was really fun. Gary gave me a huge high five, and everybody was just cheering. It was awesome.”
– Olafia Kristinsdottir
Credit: LPGA Tour Communications, Getty Images