LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A birdie-birdie finish lifted Jessica Korda to a one-shot first-round lead over former champion Moriya Jutanugarn and Tiffany Chan on Wednesday in the LPGA Los Angeles Open.
Korda answered her lone bogey of the day with birdies at three of her last four holes, firing a seven-under par 64 at Wilshire Country Club to overtake early pacesetter Moriya.
Thailand’s Moriya had turned things around after a rocky start that featured a double bogey and two bogeys in her first five holes, her 10 birdies carrying her to a 65.
She was joined in six-under by Hong Kong’s Tiffany Chan, whose seven birdies included four in a row at the fifth through the eighth.
Korda hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, tying the course record as she put herself in position to add a second title this season to the Tournament of Champions trophy she lifted in January.
“I had a good day,” said the 28-year-old American, ranked 21st in the world.
“I just kept myself in position and was able to capitalize on the six- to 10-footers that I gave myself for birdie.”
“I had some issues with the speed on the back nine, so I was happy to make a couple of five footers or four-footers for par, which doesn’t happen too often, especially in the afternoon on these greens.”
Moriya, who claimed the lone LPGA title of her career at Los Angeles in 2018, teed off in the morning and found herself in trouble quickly.
“Really a rollercoaster,” said Moriya, who battled back admirably after her double-bogey at the 11th — her second hole of the day.
That miscue, along with bogeys at 13 and 14, was forgotten as she reeled off six birdies in a row from the 15th through the second.
After a birdie at the fourth, she closed with another run of three straight birdies, playing her second nine in six-under par 29.
“It was pretty fun,” she said. “I didn’t realize until I signed the scorecard I shot 29 on the back side today.”