Defending champ Ko among co-leaders in Canada
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Amateur Lydia Ko opened her Canadian Women's Open championship defense with a 65 to tie for the lead alongside Christel Boeljon – who notched an ace down the stretch Thursday – and Angela Stanford at 5 under during Thursday's first round at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton, Alberta.
Boeljon earned her hole-in-one at No. 16 with a 9 iron from 126 yards out. She birdied Nos. 15 and 17 on either side of it to move into a share of the lead.
"I only realized it by the lady that was behind the green that put her hands up, and I was like, 'I guess it's in.' We couldn't see with the sun," Boeljon said. "Everyone was high-fiving, so we got up to the hole, and we see it's in. It helps your score out a lot."
Ko birdied Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7 to spark her round.
"When I start off with a birdie I haven't really played that well, so yeah, I was kind of nervous that I did make a birdie on the first," Ko said.
"Because you're the defending champion, people are going to expect more," she said. "I called my dad a couple of days ago and he just said, 'Relax. You can't control everything. Just play the game that you want to play.' "
Stanford scattered her birdies amid a bogey-free round to bounce back from an 0-4 Solheim Cup performance.
"I'm the one that it's probably haunting the most. So it's been really hard," she said, "I thought about going home a few times. ... The best thing was for me to get back on the horse. I had to get out and play and I guess just try to put it behind me."
Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr shot 66s to stand one back of the co-leaders.
World No. 1 Inbee Park birdied four of six holes around the turn to open at 3 under, T-6 alongside Na Yeon Choi, Karine Icher and Canadian Jennifer Kirby.
"The course dried out a lot, so it played a little bit shorter than it did in the practice round," Park said. "I was hitting a little bit shorter irons, so I was able to attack some pins and I was able to make more birdies than I thought I could have made out there. I putted really good out there today, so I feel really good about it."
European Solheim Cup hero Caroline Hedwall was among 10 players who opened at 2 under, good for T-10.
Charley Hull, another European Solheim Cup standout, opened at 1 under to stand T-20 alongside a dozen others, including Suzann Pettersen.
"I played pretty solid," Hull said. "I just hit one on 17 and then I missed a silly little putt on 18. . . . I'm feeling pretty happy with my game and just going to practice some short putts after for a bit."
World No. 2 and reigning Women's British Open champion Stacy Lewis bogeyed five of her first seven holes en route to a 4-over 74 that didn't help put the U.S. Solheim Cup behind her.
"I played terrible all day," Lewis said. "I didn't make any putts. I didn't hit the ball very good and the start just didn't help. I was tired out there. Mentally, I wasn't in it. Just coming off the last week is still tough."
– The Associated Press contributed.