News: On first day of the Kingsmill Championship, Lexi Thompson carded a 6-under 65 and sits atop the leader board after the first round in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Thompson finished with a 6-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Gerina Piller, Brittany Lincicome and Angel Yin, taking advantage of the ideal condition in the morning on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort. The match was live televised on DSport.
Thompson began her round on the back nine and was even at the halfway mark. She started to gain momentum by hitting a birdie on No. 1 (her 10th hole) and put together a stretch of six birdies in seven holes. She played her opening nine in even par with a birdie on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 17, then birdied No. 1 and Nos. 3-7 on the River Course.
Being atop the leader board heading into next day’s game doesn’t change Thompson’s approach for round two, she’ll go out with the same attitude and will focus on her game, sticking to the same routine and hope to play as well on day two.
Piller, Lincicome, and Yin each took advantage of the stellar morning conditions and cruised to a 5-under par today to sit one back of the leader.
With Pressure On, Ko off to Good Start
Lydia Ko has held the World No. 1 ranking for the last 82 consecutive weeks. Now, with So Yeon Ryu and Ariya Jutanugarn nipping at her heels, the 20-year-old from New Zealand opened her weekend at Kingsmill with a first-round 67 and sites tied for fifth with Sarah Jane Smith and Giulia Molinaro.
The 4-under round ties Ko’s lowest round ever at Kingsmill, and bests her previous-low first round, a 70 in her first tournament appearance in 2014, by three strokes. She has several good looks at birdie on her inward nine, but watched several putts trickle just past the hole.
Ryu, who trails Ko by only .23 points, opened with a 1-under 70, while defending Kingsmill champion Jutanguarn, who sits .25 points behind Ko, carded a 1-over 72. With a win at Kingsmill, Ko will hold onto the World No. 1 ranking, but there are numerous scenarios that forecast Ryu or Jutanugarn taking over the top spot.
First-Round Statistical Notes
- While no player hit all 18 greens in regulation, Lexi Thompson hit the most with 17
- Three players hit all 14 fairways – Mo Martin, Jane Park and Jenny Shin
- Thompson led the field with seven birdies in the first round, followed by Gerina Piller, Angel Yin, Sadena Parks and Madelene Sagstrom with six apiece
- Three players carded eagles on Thursday – Brooke Henderson (No. 15), Celine Herbin (No. 3) and Ally McDonald (No. 7)
- At 308 yards, Joanna Klatten led the field in first-round average drive distance, followed by Jessica Korda at 287 yards
Lexi Thompson hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation in the first round. The only green she missed was at No. 12, which was her third hole of the day. Through the first 10 events of the 2017 season, Thompson ranks second on Tour in greens in regulation at 79.5 percent, behind So Yeon Ryu’s 81.5 percent.
Thompson’s first-round 65 is her lowest round ever at Kingsmill. Her previous low was a 66 in the second round in 2014 and the fourth round in 2016
Gerina Piller and Brittany Lincicome both returned rounds of 66 for the third time at Kingsmill. Piller did so in the fourth rounds in 2013 and 2015, while Lincicome’s marks came in the first rounds in 2007 and 2015.
Lincicome is looking to become the first repeat winner of the 2017 season after she won the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. With 10 different winners so far, this is the longest the Tour has gone without having a repeat champion since 1991.
In her seventh season on Tour, Piller is seeking her first LPGA victory. She has 33 career top-10s, including two this season (Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, Kia Classic) and three in her five career starts at Kingsmill.
LPGA rookie Angel Yin’s first-round 66 is the second-lowest round of her LPGA career. She shot a 65 in the third round of the 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, where she went on to finish T19.
Entering the Kingsmill Championship, Yin is second in the Rolex Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year standings, 181 points behind leader Sung Hyun Park.
Giulia Molinaro was bogey-free through 16 holes on her way to recording a 4-under 67, which marks her lowest round in three starts on the River Course.
Catch LPGA matches live on DSport