Handful of LPGA stars sporting new looks

Jiyai Shin gets a high five from Brittany Lincicome after she made birdie at No. 9 to take the lead during the first round of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup.

Jiyai Shin gets a high five from Brittany Lincicome after she made birdie at No. 9 to take the lead during the first round of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup.

PHOENIX – It’s like the first day of school here on the LPGA. The opening round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup marks Day 1 of competition in the U.S., and it’s always fun to see how players have changed during the offseason. Pat Hurst and Karen Stupples are looking trim thanks to winter diets.

“I’m one hot mama now,” Hurst deadpanned.

Early leader Jiyai Shin was almost unrecognizable at a sponsor dinner a few nights ago with her orangish hair and black-rimmed lense-less glasses. Shin, who has had Lasik eye surgery, used them as an accessory. As for her hair, she wanted something “fresh” to stand out from the crowd of Asian players.

An opening 66 at Wildfire Golf Club certainly helps Shin separate herself. An eight-time winner on the LPGA, Shin was winless last season but started strong in 2012, finishing third in Thailand and T-8 in Singapore.

Stupples, who opened with a 67, lost 21 pounds over the offseason thanks to a diet that was free of dairy, pasta, bread and potatoes. She couldn’t bring herself to give up chocolate.

“It got to the point last year where I was over in Malaysia and really struggling playing in the hot weather and the temperatures,” Stupples said. “We play so much overseas and a lot of high temperatures, and I really felt like the weight was holding me back from achieving what I wanted to do.”

A healthier Stupples also managed to bounce back quickly from a recent surgery. One week ago, Stupples had an ovarian cyst and polyps removed laparoscopically. She withdrew from the pro-am round on Wednesday after being wiped out from a nine-hole practice round.

After a morning pep talk from her husband/caddie, Stupples decided to carry on.

“Everything felt great on the warm-up and I said, ‘Let’s give it a go,’ ” she said. Turned out to be a good call.

Hurst went on a diet for the first time in her life after she got back from Taiwan last October. She has lost 35 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. Hurst, who opened with a 3-under 69, said it’s too early to tell how much the loss has impacted her game, but finds mealtimes to be a whole new experience.

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