Mexico City, Mexico (SportsNetwork.com) – Christina Kim carded a first-round,
7-under 65 early on Thursday and she has a 1-shot lead at the Lorena Ochoa
Invitational over Azahara Munoz.
Kim has won twice in her career on the LPGA Tour, with her last one coming
back in 2005 at the Tournament of Champions.
“This course was fantastic,” Kim said. “This course is very traditional and
it’s an old-fashioned golf course. You get a sense of, not age, but it’s
always great to be on a classic golf course. It’s very demanding regardless of
just having to figure out the 10 percent that you’re hitting the ball further.
It’s been a beautiful golf course. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful week so
It seemed as if Kim would have a significant lead after one round at Club de
Golf Mexico, but Munoz used a late charge to get within one shot of the
leader. Munoz shot a 6-under 66 Thursday.
Seventeen-year-old Lydia Ko had an impressive day as well, shooting a 4-under
68 to get within three. Ko is alone in third place.
World No. 1 Inbee Park, who is trying to catch world No. 2 Stacy Lewis in the
Race for the CME Globe, is tied for seventh at 2-under 70 along with defending
champion Lexi Thompson and five others.
Lewis struggled on day one. She did not make a single birdie on her way to a
4-over 76. Lewis is tied for 31st.
Kim, who was in the very first group to tee off on Thursday, cruised right out
of the gate. Following a par at the first, Kim rolled in an eagle on the par-5
second hole to get to 2-under. The eagle would not be Kim’s last of the day.
Two more birdies on four and seven helped Kim make the turn at minus-4. Kim
was coasting along to start the back nine as she rattled off six straight pars
from No. 10, making it eight consecutive pars overall going back to No. 8.
Just like she began the day, Kim finished strong. Her third birdie on 16 got
Kim to minus-5. Then on the par-5 17th, Kim drained her second eagle of the
day, vaulting her all the way up to 7-under. She ended with a par on 18 to
grab the very early clubhouse lead.
Kim’s lead appeared to be enough to give her a big advantage after one round
as she held a 4-shot lead as most of the groups were finishing up day one.
However, Munoz was determined to make a move late in her round.
Munoz began with two birdies on her first three holes on one and three, but
she gave one of those shots back with a bogey on four. After four straight
pars from five, Munoz drained her third birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at 2-
Still five shots back of the leader, Munoz started the back nine with a pair
of pars before making birdies on 12, 14 and 16, getting her all the way up to
5-under. Now just two shots behind Kim, Munoz poured in a huge eagle of her
own on No. 17, putting her into a tie for the lead. Munoz tripped to a bogey
at the last to fall back one shot after the first round.
“I played so well today. I made a lot of good putts and I actually should have
made a lot more so that was nice,” Munoz said. “I started to putt really well
in Taiwan again. I’ve been putting so well all year, and then the last month
has been a little bit of a struggle in Asia, so finally in Taiwan I started
putting better and I guess I got more comfortable and gaining a little
confidence. Putting I guess is always the key.”
Ko tripped to a bogey at the first to begin her day, but a pair of birdies on
two and three got her on the right track. Ko made back-to-back birdies again
on six and seven, getting her to 3-under.
Another bogey on 11 dropped Ko back to minus-2, but following five straight
pars, Ko finished strong with her third pair of gains on 17 and 18, which got
her into sole possession of third place.
NOTES: Kim has just two top-10 finishes this season, with her best finish
coming at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, where she was runner-up … Munoz’s only
win on tour came at the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship. Munoz has eight
top-10 finishes this year, including two runner-up finishes … Ko is seeking
her third victory on tour this year … Lewis is currently No. 1 in the Race
for the CME Globe, while Park is right behind her in second.