South African Paula Reto got her campaign at the CP Women’s Open off to a strong start on Thursday as she carded a course record nine-under 62 in the first round for a two-stroke lead in the Canadian capital.
South Korean An Narin was second at the 2.35 million U.S. dollars LPGA Tour event after shooting a 64-over the par-71 Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club layout. Americans Robynn Ree, Lilia Vu and Emma Talley were equal third on 65.
World No. 1 Jin Youngko from South Korea, who won the national championship in 2019, opened with three-under 68 to sit equal 30th.
Canada’s Brooke Henderson, the world No. 5, was one shot further back on 69 in a group that included Tiffany Chan from Hong Kong, China. Beijing native Liu Yu shot a one-under 70, while Lin Xiyu, China’s No. 1, struggled to a one-over 72.
Reto, 32-year-old, who has never won on the LPGA Tour since getting her card in 2014, started her round on the 10th hole and came out firing with four birdies over the first five holes. After birdies at the 17th and 18th holes to make the turn at six-under, she closed out her bogey-free round with three more birdies over her back nine (the front nine), including one at her last hole.
“It was a good putting day. A lot of putts went in, and that kind of makes the round easier. Seeing my lines and the speed was pretty good, so that made it easier,” said the Cape Town native who broke the course scoring record previously held by Henderson.
“I didn’t know it was the course record, so kind of finding out after my round takes the pressure off. I’m happy about it. I’m hoping to do some more good rounds coming here.”
Henderson, who hails from Smith Falls, about one hour away from Ottawa, lamented a hot start that saw her card three straight birdies from her first hole (10th) after starting on the back nine. Her round would also feature two more birdies and three bogeys, including one at her last hole (ninth).
“Definitely disappointed with how I finished the day on a birdie or eagle-able par-five, making bogey. But it’s the thing with this course. When you hit it in bad spots you really pay the price,” said Henderson, a two-time winner this year.
“I feel like I hit the ball really close today. Sort of didn’t. Maybe the putter wasn’t as hot on the back nine. I feel like I could have gone really low so it’s a little disappointing. At the same time, under par, and I feel like things are okay and I’ll play better tomorrow.”
Minjee Lee, the world No. 2, withdrew from the field before the tournament start. No reason was given for the Australian’s withdrawal.