Leona Maguire shot a three-under 67 on day one of the LPGA’s THE ANNIKA Presented by Gainbridge at Pelican Golf Club in Florida, while Stephanie Meadow opened with a level-par 70.
Maguire, starting on the 10th, birdied just one of her opening nine holes, making eight pars on the front side to turn at -1. Two more birdies came at 10 and 15 as she closed out a bogey-free round to post -3 and end the day tied for 31st.
Meadow, who likely needs a top-five finish to push her way into the season-ending CME Globe Championship next week, has it all to do after making a costly double-bogey at the closing hole to shoot level-par.
Birdies at 14 and 16 – her fifth and seventh holes – put her in good early stead, but after trading one bogey with one birdie on the front side, she reached the par-3 closing hole at -2 overall. She’ll be bitterly disappointed to finish in the manner she did, as it pushes her the wrong side of the cutline and leaves it highly unlikely that she’ll feature at Tiburon next week.
Brooke Henderson set the early pace with an eight-under 62 and she takes a one-shot lead over European Solheim Cup star Emily Kristine Pedersen, Minami Katsu, Jin Young Ko and Patty Tavatanakit.
Lexi Thompson’s late-season resurgence continues and she shot a six-under 64 to join a five-way tie for sixth. In the run in to the Solheim Cup, Thompson looked set to lose her LPGA Tour card after a complete loss of form in the early and mid parts of the year, but in recent weeks she’s secured her card for 2024 but she still likely needs to win this week to make the field for the CME Globe.
Thompson credits the Solheim Cup and her subsequent PGA Tour appearance at the Shriners Children’s Open as being the major catalysts in her turnaround.
“Both (events) did extreme amounts for my confidence, just being able to play aggressive golf,” said Thompson . “(The) Solheim Cup is just so much pressure being able to play for your country, and being able to pull off shots under that kind of pressure, that means a lot and does a lot for your confidence when do you so.
“To go to Shriners and be able to rip driver everywhere and hit it as long as I can and take advantage of that, really just see how my ball striking was and put it to a test, I enjoyed every bit of it, especially being with the kids. It did more for me mentally, I think, than anything.”