Lotte Championship - R1

Nelly Korda takes opening lead with bogey-free round

April 17-20
Ko Olina Golf Club, Kapolei, Hawaii
$2,000,000
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4

Nelly Korda has taken the lead rolling in the last of her nine birdies at the 18th in a bogey-free round of 63 Wednesday for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club.


“I got here Saturday and I swear I couldn’t even walk because it was so windy,” said Korda, who is making her Lotte debut. “But I like the place. Everyone is really friendly and it just feels good to be here.”

Eun-Hee Ji birdied six of the final eight holes for an 8-under 64. Ji has played in all eight Lotte events, never shooting lower than 66 before Wednesday. She admitted she was uncomfortable in the wind and surprised at how peaceful it was in paradise.

“It’s always windy out here,” Ji said. “But today was no wind and this course, a lot of changes if no wind, so that makes it little easier today.”

Defending champion Brooke Henderson and Hyejin Choi, playing on a sponsor exemption, are two shots back.

Ji turns 33 next month, making her the oldest LPGA winner this year. Korda, who turns 21 in July, was one of the youngest when she snagged her second win in February in Australia.

In her third LPGA season, she is now No. 10 in the Rolex Rankings and has five top 10s in six starts this year. She also leads the tour in birdies.

Hawaii’s Michelle Wie — the 2014 Lotte champion who is coming back from a wrist injury — shot 77.

“Just coming back, some shots are going to hurt,” Wie said. “Trying to figure my way around that and just trying to get back in the swing of playing again.”

Nelly Korda asks herself ‘What would Tiger do?’

Read next

Interview with Michael Brown

Lifestyle
By GT Editor

You wouldn’t think Nelly Korda would have a streak of laziness, especially after such a hot start to the 2019 season and her first-round 63 at Ko Olina. However, the 20-year-old Florida-native has spent five weeks on the road and feeling a tad unmotivated, found a spark this week after witnessing Tiger Woods’ win at last week’s Masters Tournament.

“I think I posted something on my [Instagram] story that I had like no motivation and I needed to go work out, and then I just thought of Tiger. ‘I wonder if he would be in this position?,’ she asked herself. “Probably not. I’m going to go work out.”

Korda will tee off on the 10th tee at 7:44 a.m. with Amy Olson and World No. 1 Jin Young Ko for Round 2. 

LPGA players pay tribute to founder Marilynn Smith

LPGA players and caddies wore special pins on Wednesday at the LOTTE Championship in remembrance of Founder Marilynn Smith, throughout the first round of competition since she passed last Tuesday, April 9th.

“I mean, we wouldn’t be here without her,” said first-round leader Nelly Korda. “She had such a huge role and why women’s golf is where it is today. When we saw her she had such a smile on her face. I’m really going to miss that. Her hugs especially. She always had such a positive energy around her.”

Jin Young Ko shared the same sentiments about the Founder, “She has a great smile. I couldn’t believe that she passed away so quickly, but I pray for her. All the players, the LPGA players, get lots of inspiration from her so we can play this tour. I have so much to thank her for.”

Ariya Jutanugarn draws inspiration from Tiger’s win at the Masters

Former World No. 1, Ariya Jutanugarn admits that she’s been having a rocky start to the 2019 season. After a successful season of three LPGA Tour wins, including a major (U.S. Women’s Open), sweeping all the LPGA’s major awards, including the ANNIKA Major Award and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the 23-year-old Thai drew much inspiration from Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters. 

“To watch him come back and win the Masters after a lot of things happened in his life, it’s just so inspiring to me in so many ways,” said Jutanugarn. “Especially right now, I’m struggling right now mentally and I saw him fighting, I told myself, ‘just wake up, fight everyday and take action, try to do something to improve everyday.”

Jutanugarn shot a 5-under-par 67 in Round 1 of the LOTTE Championship and is currently tied for seventh with nine other players. 

Kim Kaufman makes first professional hole-in-one

Kim Kaufman was 1-under through her first three holes on Wednesday before making her first professional ace of her LPGA Tour career in the first round of the 2019 LOTTE Championship. 

“I made a shot and I actually said ‘go,’ which you don’t usually say on a par-3,” said Kaufman, hitting a 7-iron from 162 yards on the par-3 4th. “It just fell right in the hole. It was just online the whole way. It was fun. It was great. It was my first one on the LPGA, so kind of cool.”

With Kaufman’s ace, CME Group will donate $20,000 towards St. Jude’s Research Hospital. There have been eight hole-in-ones made prior to the week and a total of $160,000 has been donated thus far in 2019. This is enough to cover half of the treatment for a pediatric patient battling lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer.

CME Group Cares Challenge – Score 1 for St. Jude

The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Player Notes

Rolex Rankings No. 10 Nelly Korda (63)

Korda’s first-round 63 is her lowest round of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, besting the 65 she shot in the third round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America

She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens

Korda is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2016 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and finished ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card Symetra Tour money list to earn LPGA Tour status in her first year as a professional

This is Korda’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open earlier this season for her second victory on Tour 

She is competing in her first LOTTE Championship

Rolex Rankings No. 20 Eun-Hee Ji (64)

Ji’s first-round 64 is her second lowest round of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, one shot away from the 63 she shot in the first round at the Honda LPGA Thailand 

She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens

Ji is in her 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Her most recent win was at the inaugural 2019 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America

This is Ji’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she has two additional top-10 finishes this year

She is competing in her eighth LOTTE Championship; her best finish is T11 in 2018

Rolex Rankings No. 30 Hyejin Choi (65)

Choi is making her season debut on the LPGA Tour; she is making her 14th career start on the LPGA this week

Choi’s first-round 65 is her lowest round on the LPGA Tour, besting her 66 score which she shot in the third round of the 2018 Kia Classic

She hit eight of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens

Choi is in her third season on the KLPGA Tour; she is a four-time winner on the KLPGA

She is competing in her fourth LOTTE Championship; her best finish is T30 in 2017

Choi has two runner-up finishes on the LPGA—2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open 

Rolex Rankings No. 12 Brooke Henderson (65)

Henderson’s first-round 65 ties her lowest round of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, which she shot in the first round at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America

She hit 9 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens

Henderson is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she is a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour; she is one-win shy of tying Sandra Post’s record for most victories by a Canadian player in LPGA Tour history

This is Henderson’s seventh event of the 2019 season; she has three top-10 finishes this season

She is the defending champion of the LOTTE Championship; this is her fourth start of the LOTTE Championship

Quick Hits

28 players in the top 20 represent 10 different countries (USA, Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Thailand, Sweden, Denmark and Spain)

Kim Kaufman made a hole-in-one on Hole No. 4 with her 7-iron from 162 yards


Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
1
Nelly Korda
-9
63
2
Eun-Hee Ji
-8
64
T3
Hyejin Choi
-7
65
T3
Brooke M. Henderson
-7
65
T5
So Yeon Ryu
-6
66
T5
Hannah Green
-6
66
T7
P.K. Kongkraphan
-5
67
T7
Chella Choi
-5
67
T7
Haru Nomura
-5
67
T7
In Gee Chun
-5
67
T7
Ariya Jutanugarn
-5
67
T7
Lilia Vu
-5
67
T7
Moriya Jutanugarn
-5
67
T7
Danielle Kang
-5
67
T7
Minjee Lee
-5
67
T7
Suzuka Yamaguchi
-5
67
T17
Pajaree Anannarukarn
-4
68
T17
Karen Chung
-4
68
T17
Madelene Sagstrom
-4
68
T17
Nicole Broch Larsen
-4
68
T17
Brittany Altomare
-4
68
T17
Mi Jung Hur
-4
68
T17
Ryann O’Toole
-4
68
T17
Pornanong Phatlum
-4
68
T17
Sei Young Kim
-4
68
T17
Carlota Ciganda
-4
68
T17
Azahara Munoz
-4
68
T17
Pavarisa Yoktuan
-4
68
T29
Celine Boutier
-3
69
T29
Jing Yan
-3
69
T29
Jin Young Ko
-3
69
T29
Lee-Anne Pace
-3
69
T29
Ruixin Liu
-3
69
T29
Emma Talley
-3
69
T29
Alena Sharp
-3
69
T29
Elizabeth Szokol
-3
69
T29
Lindsey Weaver
-3
69
T38
Minami Katsu
-2
70
T38
Laetitia Beck
-2
70
T38
Jackie Stoelting
-2
70
T38
Mariajo Uribe
-2
70
T38
Maria Torres
-2
70
T38
Kristen Gillman
-2
70
T38
Katherine Kirk
-2
70
T38
Klara Spilkova
-2
70
T38
Aditi Ashok
-2
70
T38
Ashleigh Buhai
-2
70
T38
Peiyun Chien
-2
70
T38
Giulia Molinaro
-2
70
T38
Dottie Ardina
-2
70
T38
Brittany Lang
-2
70
T38
Kris Tamulis
-2
70
T38
Na Yeon Choi
-2
70
T38
Shanshan Feng
-2
70
T38
Hyo Joo Kim
-2
70
T38
Lindy Duncan
-2
70
T38
Jennifer Song
-2
70
T38
Lauren Stephenson
-2
70
T59
Jeongmin Cho
-1
71
T59
Robyn Choi
-1
71
T59
Charley Hull
-1
71
T59
Stacy Lewis
-1
71
T59
Pernilla Lindberg
-1
71
T59
Paula Creamer
-1
71
T59
Amy Olson
-1
71
T59
Lizette Salas
-1
71
T59
Daniela Darquea
-1
71
T59
Gemma Dryburgh
-1
71
T59
Dori Carter
-1
71
T59
Isi Gabsa
-1
71
T59
Ji Hyun Kim
-1
71
T59
Haeji Kang
-1
71
T59
Alison Lee
-1
71
T59
Inbee Park
-1
71
T59
Tiffany Joh
-1
71
T59
Kim Kaufman
-1
71
T59
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras
-1
71
T59
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
-1
71
T59
Mel Reid
-1
71
T59
Linnea Strom
-1
71
T81
Lee Lopez
E
72
T81
Mina Harigae
E
72
T81
Gaby Lopez
E
72
T81
Angel Yin
E
72
T81
Mariah Stackhouse
E
72
T81
Tiffany Chan
E
72
T81
Jeong Eun Lee
E
72
T81
Caroline Masson
E
72
T81
Anne-Catherine Tanguay
E
72
T81
Amelia Lewis
E
72
T81
Cristie Kerr
E
72
T81
Nasa Hataoka
E
72
T81
Ally McDonald
E
72
T81
Angela Stanford
E
72
T81
Jaye Marie Green
E
72
T81
Alana Uriell
E
72
T97
Sandra Changkija
1
73
T97
Xiyu Lin
1
73
T97
Wichanee Meechai
1
73
T97
Mi Hyang Lee
1
73
T97
Marissa Steen
1
73
T97
Cheyenne Knight
1
73
T97
Gerina Piller
1
73
T97
Lauren Kim
1
73
T97
Paula Reto
1
73
T97
Youngin Chun
1
73
T97
Jaclyn Lee
1
73
T97
Wei-Ling Hsu
1
73
T97
Jenny Shin
1
73
T97
Jasmine Suwannapura
1
73
T97
Jenny Haglund
1
73
T97
Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong
1
73
T113
Lauren Coughlin
2
74
T113
Stephanie Meadow
2
74
T113
Beatriz Recari
2
74
T113
Dana Finkelstein
2
74
T113
Maddie McCrary
2
74
T113
Becca Huffer
2
74
T113
Brittany Marchand
2
74
T113
Georgia Hall
2
74
T113
Charlotte Thomas
2
74
T113
Sakura Yokomine
2
74
T113
Ayako Uehara
2
74
T124
Celine Herbin
3
75
T124
Jeongeun Lee6
3
75
T124
Kendall Dye
3
75
T124
Sarah Schmelzel
3
75
T124
Kristy McPherson
3
75
T124
Kum-kang Park (a)
3
75
T124
Sophia Popov
3
75
T124
Louise Ridderstrom
3
75
T124
Yu Liu
3
75
T124
Laura Gonzalez Escallon
3
75
T124
Brianna Do
3
75
T135
Dani Holmqvist
4
76
T135
Muni He
4
76
T135
Christina Kim
4
76
T138
Lori Beth Adams
5
77
T138
Michelle Wie
5
77
T138
Clariss Guce
5
77
T138
Benyapa Niphatsophon
5
77
T138
Joanna Klatten
5
77
143
Sarah Burnham
8
80
144
Yani Tseng
9
81
Share this article