Peiyun Chien takes a one-shot into the second round of The Chevron Championship as 36 players shoot under par

There was a reoccurring theme as players left the golf course on Thursday after the first round of The Chevron Championship – the course is tough. Definitely more suited to the longer hitters on tour, the Jack Nicklaus signature course at The Club at Carlton Woods is making the players think very tactically about how they play each hole.

Taking a one-shot lead into the second round is Peiyun Chien, the first time she has led a Major championship. The 32-year-old comes into this week after finishing in a tie for fourth last week in Hawaii. It’s pretty impressive that she shot five-under-par considering her thoughts ahead of the first round:

“I saw the pin sheet last night, and I can't sleep. It feels so hard,” said Chien, who carded six birdies and one bogey on Thursday. “We're doing very well today, just focused on what I want, what we want, and which way we can miss. I think we did very well today.”  

Six players on four-under-par

Six players are one shot behind on four-under-par which includes World number two Nelly Korda. The American carded seven birdies and three bogeys, where she used her length off the tee, but also talked about being too aggressive at times:

“I took advantage of the par-5s today. I think I birdied them all, so that was important, as I'm a bit of a longer hitter. Overall I played pretty well. It was nice to finish the way I did with just a tap-in birdie.

“But made a couple of mistakes here and there where it was more of the yardage where I was a little too aggressive and I left myself a little short-sided chip, and with the rain that we got during the delay, I wasn't sure how it was going to react, bump-and-running it or flopping it. Just made a couple of mistakes there, but that's a given at a major championship.”

Watch first round highlights from The Chevron Championship

Lilia Vu, who won Honda LPGA Thailand in February, drove the green at the par-5 eighth hole and converted her eagle to reach four-under-par. Her thoughts were also on the difficulty of the course:

“Definitely made some bogeys out here, but birdies are possible. I think it's kind of hard to keep myself at the standard of not making any bogeys. It's a major week, obviously, it's a difficult course, a new course for everybody, so just staying patient and giving myself opportunities.

“I think it's really demanding off the tee. You want to place yourself in the right area and then try to hit a good shot from the fairway and give yourself an opportunity for birdie.”

A new course gives players a level playing field

Also at four-under-par is another American Marina Alex, who believes the players are on a level playing field this week:

“I actually don't mind not having seen venues before. I think it's a really level playing field for everyone. No one really has all that much of an advantage or years and years of experience playing a course and being familiar with it and maybe they like certain places over others, so I think it really puts everyone on the same ground, and I enjoy that.”

Korea’s Chella Choi reiterated that it was a tough course and that her strategy was to make par on every hole and to take her chances when she could.  This clearly worked as she made only one bogey and five birdies on Thursday.

Rounding off the group at four-under-par is Japan’s Ayaka Furue and Australia’s Steph Kyriacou who chipped in for an eagle on the last hole.

Two-time Chevron Champion Brittany Lincicombe, playing her fourth event since welcoming her second daughter, is at three-under-par:

“The golf course is perfect. It's so beautiful, it's a long hitter's course. It's narrow. There's a lot of water and trouble. You really kind of have to work your way around the course, don't short-side yourself. That's where you're going to be in big trouble.”

All players completed their first rounds after nearly an hour weather delay due to thunderstorms. It is looking like a wet start to Friday and drying out in the afternoon, with dry and warm conditions on Saturday.

As we've already mentioned, predicting a winner will be tough this week but maybe not as tough as it is to play the course!

View the full Chevron Championship leaderboard here.

Inspired by the first women's Major of the season? Why not come and watch the best players in the world at the AIG Women's Open this summer at Walton Heath. Ticket prices start from £20.