Perrine Delacour birdied six of her first seven holes en route to a 9-under-par 63 to take the lead after one round of the Portland Classic on Thursday in rainy Portland, Ore.
The 29-year-old from France has just one top-10 finish this season and is searching for her first title in a decade-plus playing the LPGA Tour.
Delacour’s bogey-free round beat out a number of players who also went low Thursday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Gina Kim is in second with an 8-under 64, and world No. 2 Nelly Korda is tied for third at 7-under 65 with Sweden’s Linn Grant and Germany’s Olivia Cowan.
Delacour birdied the par-4 first hole before starting a run of five straight birdies at the par-4 third. After six straight pars, she made a late push with birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 17.
“I didn’t know what was my score at some point,” Delacour said. “When you’re in that zone, you don’t realize your score and you’re … not scared to (do) anything. You go to every pin and you know it’s going to be fine.”
Kim had eight birdies without a bogey to post her lowest round in two years on tour. Kim has missed nine cuts in her past 10 starts.
“It’s been tough this whole season, and I kept grinding through it,” Kim said. “I kept believing in myself that maybe, you know, one of these days I’m going to be able to catch a good round like this. So it’s nice to hit the ground running out here.”
Korda, 25, began her round on the back nine and made four birdies on each side, with just one bogey sullying her card at the par-4 18th.
“I think the golf course is just in general playing a little softer than it was last year,” said Korda, who hasn’t won on tour since November. “I just knew with the amount of rain we were getting throughout the day that I could just be a little bit more aggressive.”
Grant, 24, won her first LPGA title in July at the Dana Open and stayed on top of her game by following that with a tie for 16th, a tie for 20th, a tie for 11th and a tie for sixth. She had eight birdies and one bogey on Thursday.
Cowan, 27, had a slow start on the back nine but came home in 6-under 30, birdieing six of her final seven holes.
“I think some holes are quite tricky out there,” Cowan said. “I was playing OK and I just wasn’t holing some putts, and then I guess I turned the switch on on the back nine and got it going more.”
Defending champion Andrea Lee opened with a 6-under 66, the same score as Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan, Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Megan Khang, who won last week’s CPKC Women’s Open.
Twenty-year-old phenom Rose Zhang struggled to a 2-over 74 and is in danger of missing the cut on Friday.
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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