LPGA Release – 25 May, 2018: It’s a packed leaderboard at the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship, with four players tied for the lead after 18 holes at Travis Pointe Country Club. Moriya Jutanugarn, who won the 2018 HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in April for her first LPGA win, carded a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Thursday, as did 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Danielle Kang. They are joined by Amy Olson, who is looking to join Jutanugarn as a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2018, and Caroline Masson, whose lone LPGA win came at the 2016 Manulife LPGA Classic.
Seven players sit tied for fifth: 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand winner Jessica Korda; Nasa Hataoka, who was runner-up at last week’s Kingsmill Championship presented by GEICO; 2017 LPGA Volvik runner-up Minjee Lee; Lindy Duncan; Morgan Pressel; Megan Khang; and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Jutanugarn and Korda are trying to become just the second repeat winner of the 2018 LPGA season, which has seen 12 different winners through as many events.
HOT-HANDED HATAOKA ON BOGEY-FREE STREAK
Nasa Hataoka returned a bogey-free 5-under 67 on Thursday, marking her fourth consecutive bogey-free round. Hataoka shot bogey-free rounds of 67-66-66 at last week’s Kingsmill Championship presented by GEICO, where she fell to Ariya Jutanugarn on the second sudden-death playoff hole. Her last bogey came at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, where she bogeyed the 16th hole of the fourth round.
U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN WATCH
The LPGA Volvik Championship marks the final opportunity for LPGA players to win and earn a full exemption into next week’s U.S. Women’s Open Championship. With 76 Volvik competitors not yet in the Women’s Open field, there’s a good chance someone could have the tricky, yet welcome, task of rearranging travel for a last-minute trip to Birmingham, Alabama, and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Shoal Creek.
Co-leader Amy Olson hopes to compete in her third U.S. Women’s Open, but would also be just as happy with a quiet week at home.
“I would love to play. The U.S. Open is a great event,” said Olson, who grabbed the golf world’s attention in 2011 when, as an 18-year old amateur, she tied for second after the first round at The Broadmoor in Colorado. “But at this point it’s going to be an off week with my husband and that’s not a bad alternative, either.”