Scotland’s Catriona Matthew began in sparkling and consistent form as she searches for her first major championship of her career, firing a five under par 67 in the first round of the Nabisco Championship in California.
The North Berwick golfer sprinted out of the blocks with three consecutive birdies and went on to hit every green in regulation. Matthew sits just a shot behind 17-year-old Korean Aree Song who had a 66.
“I missed just two fairways and hit every green and I think that’s the first time I have ever done that and it was a day when everything went really well,” said Matthew, who closed out the win for Europe at The Solheim Cup last September.
“It’s always nice to make a good start to a major, but there is still a long way to go.”
England’s Laura Davies, who needs a win here to enter the Hall of Fame, began sprightly which included holing out from 158 yards for an eagle at the 10th. But a series of bogeys left her with a one under 71. However, the AAMI Women’s Australian Open Champion was “reasonably happy” with her round and it keep her in the frame with three rounds to go.
“I hit a couple of poor tee shots and that can get you in a lot of trouble on this course,” said Davies, who has won four majors, but not this one.
England’s Karen Stupples, who won her first professional tournament in record breaking fashion in Tucson two weeks ago, was the other Briton under par with a two birdie 70. She is tied with a trio of Solheim Cup Scandinavians, Carin Koch, Charlotta Sörenstam and Iben Tinning from Denmark.
But on a day of perfect scoring conditions there was a hint of disappointment for Charlotta’s sister, the World number one Annika Sörenstam, who declared she wants to win all four majors this season.
With a few loose iron shots by Sörenstam’s standards she could not get the scoring going. But grinding out hard as you need to do in a major, the Super-Swede finished with a birdie at the final hole to post 71 and carry some momentum into Friday’s second round.
“I’m glad I hung in there,” said the Swede.
“I was hitting a few loose shots out there early on and it made me smile that I birdied the last hole. One under is not a bad start but there’s a long way to go and it’s got to get better than that from now on.”
Another Swede on one under par was Sophie Gustafson who is also searching for her first major championship.
The big hitting Swede from Saro carded four birdies and three bogeys for her 71 and is in fine form and hopes to take advantage of an early tee time on Friday.
The top 20 Scores: -6 Aree Song 66 -5 Lorena Ochoa -67 -5 Catriona Matthew 67 -5 Rosie Jones 67 -4 Karrie Webb 68 -4 Dottie Pepper 68 -3 Kelly Robbins 69 -3 Candie Kung 69 -3 Jung Yeon Lee 69 -3 Michelle Wie* 69 -2 Karen Stupples 70 -2 Brandie Burton 70 -2 Charlotta Sorenstam 70 -2 Soo-Yun Kang 70 -2 Carin Koch 70 -2 Wendy Doolan 70 -2 Donna Andrews 70 -2 Iben Tinning 70 -1 Moira Dunn 71 -1 Elizabeth Janangelo* 71 -1 Jane Park* 71 -1 Laura Davies 71 -1 Annika Sorenstam 71 -1 Tammie Green 71 -1 JoAnne Carner 71 -1 Dawn Coe-Jones 71 -1 Stacy Prammanasudh 71 -1 Heather Daly-Donofrio 71 -1 Shani Waugh -71 -1 Stephanie Louden 71 -1 Sherri Steinhauer 71 -1 Sophie Gustafson 71 -1 Emilee Klein 71 -1 Mi-Hyun Kim 71 -1 Cristie Kerr 71