Apr 20, 2018: India’s Aditi Ashok produced one of her best opening round efforts this season to make a confident start in the LA Open on Thursday. Aditi, looking for a maiden title on the LPGA, shot three-under-par 68 in the opening round with four birdies and a lone bogie.
After the first round, Aditi shares third place with a group of six golfers. Inbee Park fired a brilliant 66 to put herself at the top of the leaderboard.
“I think it gets better every year. Some of these events have been in the same place for almost eight, ten years, maybe more. I just feel like if you’ve played it once you kind of know the courses, how it suits your game. You might know some pin placements. It just helps you plan the week a lot better”, said Aditi Ashok.
Inbee Park made a change. After what she described as a horrible putting week at last week’s LOTTE Championship in Hawaii, Park switched from the blade-style putter she used for the last month and won with in March, back to the Odyssey 2-Ball that brought her success throughout her career.
“Last week was just an awkward week where I missed a lot of short ones, and I wasn’t really comfortable with the putter,” Park said Thursday. “I just wanted to have a different look, so I just changed it.”
The switch paid off.
Thursday at the inaugural HUGEL-JTBC LA Open, Park carded an opening round 5-under par, 66 to take the outright lead at Wilshire Country Club. The LPGA Tour Hall of Famer holds a one stroke lead ahead of Marina Alex at 4-under par. A large group sits just two strokes back at 3-under par, including major champions Pernilla Lindberg and Lexi Thompson, Caroline Inglis, Aditi Ashok, Moriya Jutanugarn, Eun-Hee Ji and Emma Talley.
“I played really well out there. Especially being the new golf course. I didn’t know how it was going to play,” Park said after her round. “The course played really good. Really suited me. I putted really well out there, so I was really happy with that.”
In was an uncharacteristically cool and rainy morning in Los Angeles, but the rain subsided just as Park began her early morning round. She made it around in 28 putts and led the morning wave by two. Earlier this week, Park gushed about enjoying the nearby Koreatown and Thursday was amazed at the outpouring of support.
“I never played a tournament outside of Korea having this much Korean supporters out,” Park said. “I almost feel like I’m playing back home. It’s almost like a little Korea.”
Park tees off Friday afternoon at 1:06 p.m. local time alongside Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist.
LPGA Tour Release