On a day where Rolex number one, Stacy Lewis struggled, Suzann Pettersen was able to seize a share of the lead at The Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills. The eighth ranked Pettersen fired a bogey free -4 under par 68 in the first round of the year’s first major for the LPGA, and shares the overnight lead with Na Yeon Choi, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
Choi is the third ranked player in the Rolex list, and Shadoff is ranked 110th. Choi went bogey free on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Rancho Mirage, but Shadoff had a little rougher day. She had to overcome two bogeys en route to her 68 score.
Despite the hot weather conditions projected for the week, Pettersen says Mission Hills Country Club is in a perfectly difficult condition for golf’s first major of 2013.
“No, the course is perfect,” said Pettersen. “Greens are rolling pure. If you miss the fairways, you can be in a bit of trouble. The rough is deep. I missed one or two. You really just have to try to advance it somehow up to the greens if you can get that far, and it really depends on your eye.
“The greens are firming up. There are a few tucked pins on both sides. That’s hard to get to unless you kind of cut it into it, and I kind of holed it on the first bounce. But it’s very playable, and I’m very happy.”
Na Yeon Choi started early in the day rolling the ball with her 15-year-old putter. She was apprehensive about putting the old club in her bag, but she said it now fits her game. Choi has one major on her resume, that coming last year at the US Womens Open.
“Well, actually I changed it, the putter, in January last year,” said Choi. “And when my coach gave me the putter, actually the first time I said I don’t want to use this putter because it’s so ugly and it looks like a weapon,” said Choi. “But my coach said, Annika Sorenstam used that putter and then won the U.S. Open, and I said, then I’m going to use it.”
Jodi Ewart Shadoff was recently married, and not expecting to shoot this well at Rancho Mirage. The 25 year old did say, she was due a good round after her 16th place finish at the Kia Classic two weeks ago.
“I’ve been playing really consistently the last three or four tournaments,” said Ewart Shadoff. “And so I knew ‑‑ like my game is right there, and I knew I was due to have a really good round.”
Shadoff had the outright lead at -5 under par until she made a bogey at the par 4 16th hole to drop back into a tie with Pettersen, and Choi. Her best finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship was a T 26.
“Yeah, I just played really consistently, got into a really good birdie train in the middle of my round, which was nice,” said Ewart Shadoff. “I was just hitting a lot of greens and making putts, so I’m happy with how I’m playing and excited to get out there tomorrow morning.”
Follow me on Twitter @Spin_47