Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Early eagle helps Lauren Hartlage lead Mizuho Americas Open

Field Level Media
02 Jun 2023, 10:05 GMT+10

Lauren Hartlage eagled her first hole before pouring in five birdies to shoot a 7-under-par 65 and take the first-round lead at the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open on Thursday in Jersey City, N.J.

Hartlage -- the No. 350-ranked player in the world -- has a two-shot lead over India's Aditi Ashok, who opened with a bogey-free 67. Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul and Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow are tied for third at 4-under 68.

Hartlage surely enjoyed her first round at Liberty National Golf Course, which is hosting an LPGA event for the first time. The 25-year-old began her day on the par-5 10th hole and hit her second shot so close to the pin that albatross was in play.

"Hit it to a foot and tapped in for eagle," Hartlage said. "So getting off to a really good start always helps."

She added birdies at the par-5 13th and par-4 17th holes before making the turn. Keeping her card clean of bogeys, Hartlage birdied the par-4 third, the par-5 sixth and the par-4 ninth coming in. The 65 marked a career low.

Hartlage's T6 finish at the LOTTE Championship in April was just her second career top-10. She has yet to win on tour.

"Feel like I hadn't been playing quite as well the last couple weeks, but working with the new swing coach and getting some good swing changes going ... has been really helpful," Hartlage said. "Kind of nice to see that work paying off this week."

Ashok is also looking for her first LPGA Tour victory, though she's had a more decorated career thus far. The 25-year-old has six wins worldwide, including four on the Ladies European Tour, and she threatened for a medal at the Olympic Games in 2021 before finishing fourth.

Ashok also started her round on the back nine and made three birdies before adding a pair at Nos. 5 and 6. She said she didn't play the front nine of Liberty National during her practice round.

"I think women's golf, we never get to go to such famous venues, and when we do it's usually majors," Ashok said. "It's really nice to be at such a cool golf course for just a regular event. It's been a great experience. I'm kind of bummed that I didn't play the front nine again because I had a lot of fun playing the course."

Among the big names in a tie for fifth at 3-under 69 were World No. 3 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, World No. 8 Brooke M. Henderson of Canada and Yuka Saso of Japan.

Rose Zhang shot a 2-under 70 in her first round on the LPGA Tour since officially turning pro last Friday. Zhang was the top-ranked amateur in the world and a two-time NCAA individual champion at Stanford.

"It was amazing. It felt pretty regular throughout (the) round once I got into the zone," the 20-year-old said. "But the anticipation was for sure there. I feel like there has been a lot of things happening the last couple days and last couple weeks, so for me to come out here and just try to stay composed, I feel like I did a pretty good job at it."

Zhang's card featured five birdies and three bogeys.

World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea shot a 1-over 73.

--Field Level Media

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