Apr 27, 2018: Thursday, the LPGA Tour returned to Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City for the first time since 2016. Players love the course and enjoy the challenge of having to think through the placement of each and every shot. They missed playing Lake Merced last season.
What they didn’t miss was the weather.
It was cool and breezy on day one of the inaugural LPGA Mediheal Championship, which made the 6,458 layout play tough and long. Four of the five leaders came from the morning wave, which didn’t have to endure the 20 mph gusts that kicked up in the afternoon.
“Wind is probably the biggest factor on this golf course,” said Lydia Ko, who posted a 68 on day one. “It’s a golf course where nobody goes super low, so you just have to keep continuing to play solid and be patient out there and sometimes par is not a bad score.”
Rounds of 4-under par, 68 put Ko, Caroline Hedwall, In-Kyung Kim, Jessica Korda and Su Oh on top of the leaderboard. Oh had the low round of the afternoon, and is the only player on top without a bogey on day one. Lexi Thompson, Charley Hull, Sei Young Kim and Celine Herbin sit one back.
“It was cold and pretty windy out there, and because it’s got a lot of elevation, it kind of swirls in the middle like in the low areas, so it was tough,” Oh said after her round. I hit the ball really solid today, and then the ones I missed I made really good up-and-down’s. I’m really happy with my round.”
Oh missed the cut in five of her eight starts this season, but Thursday she played with a new set of shafts in her PING irons, which resulted in her low round of 2018.
“I went [with] way heavier shafts, back to steel shafts and feels a lot more stable,” said Oh. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but it worked pretty well today. Hopefully it will keep working.”
Aditi Ashok played brilliantly well on the return stretch to claw her way back to one over 73. The 19 year old Indian, starting on the 10th tee, was even through the 16th hole. But a pair of bogeys at the bend dropped her to two over.
She played with great resolve from there, keeping a clean sheet on her second nine. Aditi also made a birdie at the par-5 fifth hole to end the at T63. The cut is projected to fall at one over, so Aditi will hope to produce a disciplined second round to move up the order.