Pernilla Lindberg carded a bogey-free, 7-under par, 65 to take a one-stroke lead on a day where Europe's finest turned up the heat at Rancho Mirage.
There is nowhere else in the world the Swede would rather play well than at the ANA Inspiration. It’s her favourite tournament and course, and where she now leads a major championship for the first time in her career.
She leads a field jam-packed with European's including Swiss amateur Albane Valenzuela, a Stamford student who looked totally at home amongst the world's best players after firing an opening 65.
Meanwhile, Spaniard Beatriz Recari went one better, as the Spaniard posted her low round of 2018 with a 6-under par, 66. Recari was one of only two players in the top 10, Lindberg being the other, to go bogey-free on day one. For Recari, it comes as no surprise. She’s always had a special feeling at Mission Hills.
“I felt like if I was going to win a major, it was going to be on this course,” Recari said. “It really suits my game, and definitely really feels like our Masters. There is so much tradition, and the course is always in pristine condition. There is a lot that you have to have very sharp in your game for this week.”
For the second consecutive major championship, Ayako Uehara has put herself in the mix early. At the 2017 Evian Championship, she opened with rounds 68-66 to play in the final group on Sunday. But she stumbled to a final round 75, due in large part to a bogey, double bogey combo on the 13th and 14th holes that dropped her into a tie for 10th. It was a situation in which she struggled to manage the adrenaline and nerves she was feeling. It was an experience she was able to learn from and helped her in her start at the season’s first major.
“[I’m] actually, a little nervous, but, yeah, I have confidence too,” Uehara said after her round. “I think that's a good combination. I want to keep doing well tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, a stellar line-up lie in wait to make their move on day two. These include Jessica Korda and Ha Na Jang who sit two shots behind Lindberg, and Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, and In Gee Chun another shot further back.
Credit- LPGA Tour