The race is on for the money, the Race to the CME Globe points, and the Honda LPGA Thailand championship at the Siam Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. Swede Anna Nordqvist has set the pace with a first round score of 66 and holds a slender one shot lead over American Michelle Wie, who went to the clubhouse in solo second place. But eleven players are going into the second round within four shots of Nordqvist and Wie. Game on!
Nordqvist got off to a quick start with three consecutive birdies and said it put her in a good mindset for the rest of the round.
I try to be awake when I start on the first tee box. I hit it on the green in two, so it was a pretty easy birdie. But definitely getting a good start sets the pace for the rest of the day.
Rolex Ranked No. 27, Nordqvist was 5-under through 12 holes, then picked up back-to-back bogeys after sailing shots over both the 13th and 14th greens, but bounced back with an eagle on the par 4 15th hole and had a short putt for birdie on No. 17 to go to 6-under and take the outright lead for the first round.
Wie drove the ball like a human dynamo, averaging 280 yards for the round, and birdied all the par-5s. Rolex Ranked No. 60, Wie’s been winless since her 2010 victory at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. Going into the second round of a 72-hole, no-cut event trailing the lead by one stroke, Wie’s looking forward to Friday’s round.
An American trio — Jennifer Johnson, Angela Stanford, and Lexi Thompson — are going into the 2nd round two shots off the lead and sharing the third slot on the leaderboard.
Johnson, who’s Rolex Ranked No. 55, hasn’t had a victory since the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic last May and she hasn’t played since she missed the cut at the season opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic in January. Rolex Ranked No. 19 Stanford, who nailed an Ace on the par-3 8th hole, has been winless since the 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions. Thompson, who’s ranked 9th, ended the 2013 season with a pair of wins at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. They’d all like to be at the top of the board at the end of the second round, and any one of them could get there!
The Top-10 Ranked Players
Rolex Ranked No. 1 Inbee Park is making her 2014 debut at the Honda LPGA Thailand. She, America’s top-ranked golfer, 3rd ranked Stacy Lewis, China’s Shanshan Feng, who’s ranked 6th, and 7th-ranked Australian Karrie Webb, all carded 71 and are starting the second round in a 12-way logjam for the 14th slot on the board, well behind Anna Nordqvist’s lead.
Park struggled a bit with her putter and Lewis couldn’t seem to get a consistent game going. She had 2 eagles, on the par-5 1st hole and the par-4 15th, but she also doubled the par-4 5th.
Number 2-ranked Suzann Pettersen, who’s chasing the top of the Rolex Rankings, played a smooth and consistent game. She carded 69 and, sharing the 6th slot on the board with German Sandra Gal, Swede Caroline Hedwall, and number 5-ranked South Korean So Yeon Ryu, will start the second round 3 strokes off the lead. That’s not a large distance for Pettersen.
With two birdies and two bogeys, Rolex Ranked No. 4 New Zealander Lydia Ko played the first round at even par as did 10th-ranked American Paula Creamer, who had to work hard to get back the shots she lost on her par-3 4th hole double bogey. Ouch!
Lydia Ko, American Paula Creamer, and South Korean Jenny Shin are all fan favorites. At even par, they have some work ahead of them. They’re starting the 2nd round trailing the lead by 6 strokes. Ko made only 12 of 18 greens in regulation in the first round. She needs to dial in on the fairways and heat up her putter. Creamer’s also struggling with accuracy, hitting only 10 greens in regulation. Shin, who hit 14 greens in regulation, seems to be working with a lukewarm putter. They all need to stay in the short grass and collect a string of birdies to get caught up.
Jessica Korda, who’s currently leading in Race to the CME Globe points after her stunning victory at the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, is in trouble. She carded 74 and at +2 is trailing the lead by 8 strokes. If Korda hopes to stay in the running for a top-10 finish she needs to close some of that distance in the 2nd round.
The Golf Channel will provide delayed broadcast of the 2nd round Friday, February 21 and I’ll provide a daily wrap-up of the round as well.