Day 1 of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic featured some steady play by some of the world’s best female golfers. The course record at Thornberry is a 10-under par 62, and that was matched by China’s Yu Liu, who currently sits atop the leaderboard after 18 holes of play, despite a slight weather delay. After shooting a 63 at Thornberry last year, her 62 today was a career best.
“It’s definitely a great start and I’m going to take some rest and then get my energy level up for tomorrow playing late,” Liu said. “(I’m not going to have) too high of expectations because when we play late, it’s usually not as easy to score, considering the greens are not as smooth in the afternoon, so just trying to take it shot by shot.”
Behind Liu, the field is packed with about a dozen other golfers within three strokes of the lead. That group includes Yealimi Noh, who shot a 9-under par 63. What’s so incredible about his finish is that the 18-year-old was one of Thornberry’s two Monday qualifiers.
“The par 5’s were really valuable for me,” Noh said. “I had a lot of birdie chances on them and had an eagle on one hole. I’m just really glad to be out here, and hoping to play until the weekend, and just keep doing the same thing for tomorrow and hope to be in a good position.”
It was another birdie fest for some of the top finishers as well, like Korea’s Jeong Eun Lee and Amy Yang, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and China’s Shanshan Feng. All sit at 8-under par due to their strong efforts on the back nine. It was a particularly enjoyable first round for best friends Feng and Yang who relished playing in the same group together.
“When I made birdie or eagle she’d clap for me,” Feng said. “When she made it I’d clap for her so we both got really excited. If it was a team event, then we’d probably be more than 16-under so I’d say both of us did really well.”
Round 2 of the tournament continues tomorrow at Thornberry Creek.